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Reckless* of the Marine a 

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Kansas eity, missourj 

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By Andrew Geer 

Introduction by Lieutenant General R. McC. Pate, USMC 
Foreword by Major General E. A. Pollock, USMC 




All rights reserved 


No part of Ms book may be reproduced 
in any form without permission in writing 
from the publisher, except by a reviewer 
who wishes to quote brief passages in con- 
nection with a review written for inclusion in 
magazine or newspaper or radio broadcast, 

By Andrew Geer, 1955 

Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 55-5642 




and, of course, 


I first heard of Reckless shortly after joining the ist Marine 
Division in Korea in June of 1953. 1 was told she was a beau- 
tiful little mare with the head of a thoroughbred, but my first 
reaction was that this was probably an exaggeration, as I nad 
seen many of the horses from past service in the Far East and 
knew them to be the Mongolian type of pony. I was also told 
of her heroic behavior in the battle of Vegas. Some of the 
tales I heard were difficult to believe. 

I first saw tliis little lady, however, when the Division was 
in reserve for a brief period. After many, many months of 
close and bloody contact with the Chinese enemy, the Ma- 
rines were given a respite from war. There was time to relax. 
A carnival was organized and a vast field was converted to an 
area where games of chance were operated. The profits from 
this venture were to go to Navy Relief. 

It was then that I first saw Reckless. I was surprised at her 
beauty and intelligence, and believe it or not, her esprit de 
corps. Like any other Marine, she was enjoying a bottle of 
beer with her comrades. She was constantly the center of at- 
traction and was fully aware of her importance. If she failed 



to receive the attention she felt her due, she would delib- 
erately walk into a group of Marines and, in effect, enter the 
conversation. It was obvious the Marines loved her. 

Within a few days of the carnival the ist Marine Division 
went back into the line and once again Reckless performed 
with a courage and spirit that was difficult to understand or 
believe. Later, after the fighting had stopped, I was invited to 
attend a formal ceremony where Reckless was cited for 
bravery and I had the pleasure of promoting her to the rank 
of sergeant. Still later, there was another fund raising cam- 
paign in connection with the Iwo Jima Memorial Many ideas 
were initiated to promote competition among units to see 
which could raise the most money. Suddenly Reckless was 
"kidnapped" and held for considerable ransom. The news 
swept the Division like wildfire. Needless to say, her ransom 
was quickly forthcoming and the fund over-subscribed. 

In my career I have seen many animals that have been 
adopted by Marines, but never in all my experience have I 
seen one which won the hearts of so many as did this lovely 
little lady known as Reckless. 

RANDOLPH McC. PATE, Lieutenant General, USMC 
Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps 
Washington, D. C 


When I first heard about Reckless, it was shortly after she 
was purchased in October 1952. 1 thought it was an excellent 
idea. Sometimes Marines do weird things and adopt unusual 
pets. This time it was a horse, but when she was purchased 
the thought never occurred to Lt. Eric Pedersen that he was 
thereby establishing another great tradition for the Marine 
Corps. Nor did he realize the fame and publicity that this 
little horse would get. (She had once been a race horse des- 
tined for the track at Seoul.) Everywhere the Recoilless Rifle 
Platoon, 5th Marines, went, Reckless went along, even on 

Pedersen paid $250 for the animal and the investment was 
returned in one battle. It would be difficult to say which side 
was more surprised, the Chinese or Marines, to see that horse 
charging up Outpost Vegas carrying ammunition. It was in 
this battle that she became a heroine and earned the love and 
respect of all Marines in the 5th and yth Marines, and mine 
too. She carried more than 150 rounds of 75mm recoilless am- 
munition for the company from the dump to firing positions 
on Hill 120, and once served as a shield for four Marines 



working their way up the slope. Since it was after dark Reck- 
less also earned the title of "Nightmare." She made most of 
her races after dark. 

When 1 first saw Reckless she was behind the 5th Marines 
line in Panmunjom Hill 229 Bunker Hill Sector. This was 
sometime during the latter part of October or November 
1952. She was not doing anything exceptional beyond receiv- 
ing praise, food, and adoration from a group of Marines. 

Naturally at this time I did not visualize the extent of her 
fame and fortune. I did realize, however, that any little mo- 
rale factor would be a help and I considered the purchase 
of Reckless such a factor. This was at the time that we were 
being hit hard and regularly by the Chinese. Anything to 
maintain the already high morale was most welcome, 

It was reported in the Division that Reckless, winner of the 
Paddy Derby at Vegas, challenged Native Dancer, victor in 
the Preakness at Pimlico, to a run. As a further indication of 
the morale value I understand that the men of the Special 
Weapons Company chipped in to buy Reckless for the en- 
tire unit, 

Lt. Pedersen deserves full credit for the purchase of Reck- 
less, the attending fame, and the good publicity for the Ma- 
rine Corps. But more than that, when he obtained this horse, 
he was thinking only of his men, trying to save them from 
the back-breaking loads over extremely rugged and difficult 
terrain. I am sure also, that he was thinking of saving the lives 
of his weary ammunition carriers. This is all a part of good 
leadership,, Reckless no doubt was imbued with this same 
spirit, because she became a true Marine. 

Commanding General Marine Corps Recruit Depot 
Parris Island, South Carolina 






PART Two I21 


'(Between pages 120 and 121) 

Reckless with a reel of communication wire. 

Platoon Sergeant Joseph Latham put Reckless through "hoof 

On cold nights Reckless slept in Latham's tent. 

Latham taught Reckless to lie down quickly while under fire. 

Latham introduces Reckless to a jeep trailer. 

Reckless beside one of the 750101 recoilless rifles. 

Reckless drinking her first Coca-Cola. 

Lt. Eric Pedersen is shown guiding Reckless over rough ter- 

Reckless soon became accustomed to being under fire. 

She modeled her Australian campaign hat. 

Reckless challenges Native Dancer. 

Reckless decorated and promoted to sergeant. 

Gen. Pate pins stripes to Reckless' blanket. 

Reckless accompanied Col Gcer to the goodbye parties. 

Moore with Reckless at the rotation ceremony in Korea, 

Pedersen is at her head when she first touches hoof on Amer- 
ican soil. 

Reckless is greeted by San Francisco photographers. 

At the cake-cutting ceremony. 

At Camp Pendleton. 

Reckless arrives at her promised land. 


From the day Reckless joined the Marine Corps, her story 
was bound to be written and I am happy the task fell to me. 
A great deal of luck was involved. With Korea well covered 
by writers, it is strange one of them did not seize upon her. 
Several times, when the fighting was slack, I attempted to 
steer visiting journalists her way, but never raised more than 
a flicker of interest. To nomadic newsmen, looking for a spot 
story before moving to another sector, Reckless was not news. 

To the casual observer, she was just another horse. To me, 
who had been born into a horse-loving family and who had 
owned his first at the age of nine, she displayed attributes 
and intelligence never before seen in an animal. From the day 
I joined the 5th Marines to command the Second Battalion, I 
knew I would one day write about this little red horse. It 
would take time, however, for I had made it a policy not to 
write while fighting, though I will admit to taking a few notes 
along the way. Some war stories become dated, but in the 
case of Reckless there was no such worry. Her story is as 
timeless as that of Black Beauty. 

In Part II of the story is the account of my having lunch 


with Ben Hibbs of the Saturday Evening Post and his Instant 
recognition of her story value. The Post carried the article 
in April, 1954, and in May Elliott Macrae, president of 
Button, cabled from Europe asking that I do a book, on the 
same subject. Subsequently, three other publishers sought 
similar books. Reckless was becoming known. 

Three tours of duty in the Korean war theater had given 
me a deep compassion for the people of Chosen, which will 
become obvious to the reader. In the months following the 
truce, while with my regiment on the Kimpo Peninsula, there 
was time to search out the story. Except for stray bits of 
information which could be gotten by mail, most of the 
research had been done when Elliott Macrae asked for a book* 

The life of the Korean people under Japanese domination 
is as true as long hours of digging would uncover. It was 
slow going over the language barrier and the bridge built by 
unskilled interpreters was ofttimes weak. Certain shadings 
and alterations to the story have been made at the request of 
the youth I call Kim Hulc Moon, 

In the writing of a book of this kind there arc many de- 
serving of thanks. These are due Ernest Gibson and Stan 
Coppel for making Reckless' sea trip from Yokohama to 
San Francisco possible without its being a financial burden. 
Gordon Jones, Pacific Transport Lines representative in 
Yokohama, saw to the details of hay, grain and a salt lick, 
while Captain Kenneth Shannon, master of the vessel, afforded 
his passenger every kindness. These are the men who pro- 
vided the book with a happy ending. 

Particular thanks are due Lew Walt for the completeness 
with which he answered many questions on the Battle for 
Vegas and the cooperation given by Brute Krulnk and Pete 
Stephan. A debt is owed AI Gentleman and Ed Wheeler for 
reporting several unusual stories about Reckless, and to Prank 
Garretson and Harry Edwards at Headquarters Marine Corps, 
who were called on many times and never failed* 


There will always be a warm spot at my hearth for Jim 
Michener, who kept me informed as to Reckless' welfare 
after my departure from Korea; and for Walter Pickerell 
who journeyed to the Seoul race track and took snapshots 
and reported on current conditions at the new track; and 
Edna Clem, of the Historical Section at Headquarters Marine 
Corps, who was always prompt in checking the records on 
personnel queries. 

And now we come to the Marines who were closest to 
Reckless: Eric Pedersen, Bill Riley, Joe Latham and Elmer 
Lively. Without them the story could not have been written 
and I hope they are pleased with the result. 

San Francisco 

Feb. 22, 1955 




J.HE STORY OF RECKLESS begins with a young Korean boy, 
Kim Huk Moon, who loved horses. Ever since Kim was eight 
years old he had wanted to own a horse. Night after night he 
put himself to sleep dreaming of the horse he would one day 
own. Kim's dream did not spring on him from the darkness 
like a tiger from a thicket. It came to him on the day of his 
grandfather's funeraL Word reached the family in the middle 
of the night that Grandfather Kim had died, and early the 
next morning they started out to make the journey across the 
city of Seoul. Father Kim, silent and sad-faced, led the way, 
followed by Mother Kirn and Nam Soon, and last wejre 
Chung Soon and Kim. 

At the corner of the five streets, tall, stern Schoolmaster 
Yu was waiting and he fell in stride with Father Kim. With 
their backs to the sun and the Han River, they walked 
through the village. A shrill-voiced old woman, sitting with 
her back to a cracked mud and wattle hut, cried out at them. 
Father Kim and Yu bowed and walked on. Then they were 
free of the buildings and the road lost itself among the hills. 
It was not long before the hills fell away into the flat lands of 



the rice paddies and mulberry orchards, and everywhere 
there was motion with serpentine lines of people and horse 
carts, workers in the paddy fields and orchards and the morn- 
ing wind in the young rice. 

By the roadside sat a Buddhist monk, bathing his feet in a 
paddy stream* When he saw Father Kim approaching he 
dried his feet and rose to greet him. His face was leathery, 
seamed and ugly, but his eyes were calm and kind and he let 
his cool hand rest on Kim's head. Three abreast, the men led 
the way and in a half mile came to the streetcar line. 

Kim sat beside the tram window while Chung Soon pointed 
out the sights. There was the Kyongsong Athletic Field with 
Japanese boys in white uniforms at play, and closer to the 
tracks there was a Buddhist temple. The holy man leaned far 
out the window and stared while Chung Soon alerted Kim to 
watch for the riding academy so that he might see the cavalry 
squadron drilling with sabers flashing in the sun. 

Kim's father spat, as he always did when he saw Japanese 

The city grew heavy with buildings and thick with peo- 
ple. There was a halt, a wait, and then an imperious Japanese 
policeman with white sleeves waved them on. The tramcar 
turned north and Chung Soon told Kim, a Now we come to 
Chong~Ro If you are quick you can sec the Big Bell at the 

Shortly after, the car passed through West Gate and came 
to the end of the line where friends were waiting. The party 
walked toward the prison. The guards shouted at them, but 
after a time the body of Grandfather Kim was released and 
the procession moved back through the West Gate, past the 
police station on the corner and into the churchyard. Ever 
after that, death to Kim meant the burning of incense and the 
Buddhist priest chanting the Sutras and the fluttering of the 
prayer wheel in the wind. 

Schoolmaster Yu and the holy man stayed behind at the 


temple when Father Kim led his family onto the city streets 
to catch a streetcar back to the village. The day was now hot 
and the streets crowded. In the confusion they boarded the 
wrong tram, but it went unnoticed until it failed to turn off 
Chong~Ro. It took a long time to work his way through the 
crowd to speak to the conductor while the car sped them 
farther and farther out of their way. Father Kim began 
shouting and shoving his way through the pack. In the midst 
of all this, sparks flew from the metal box near the motor- 
man and the car screeched to a halt. 

The motorman looked into the box and shrugged and the 
conductor seemed to hold Father Kim responsible for the 
power failure and ordered him off, but Kim's father argued 
that he should be repaid the fares. A Japanese official arrived 
and was angry withe veryone. When Father Kim was pointed 
out as the troublemaker, the Japanese beat him over the 
shoulders with a cane. All Koreans were ordered to leave the 

Because it was so hot, they sought the shade of the nearby 
grandstand of the Seoul race track. For the first time in his 
life Kim saw a race horse. He f oigot the heat and his thirst as 
he stared at the horses galloping, their trim feet kicking up 
small pufflballs of dust. He began to tremble and Chung Soon, 
seeing his agitation, spoke to Mother Kim. Fearing the boy 
had a fever, she wiped his face with a damp cloth and gave 
him a drink of water purchased from a vender. 

One rider brought his horse close to the outer rail and 
called for water. The horse was a red sorrel with white stock- 
ings and a broad blaze down its nose. Hypnotized, Kim 
watched the animal. 

Kim had to dogtrot to follow the resolute pace set by his 
angry father. As he trotted along he saw and heard a train 
moving north from the Yongdongpo Bridge. The train whis- 
tled in a petulant wail and a banner of smoke rose like a black 
ribbon in the still afternoon air. Always before such a sight 


had thrilled Kim, but today he scarcely saw it as his mind's 
eye was filled with the image of the horse. 

At last they reached the shabby old mud and wattle hut. It 
was twin to a hundred others that lay side to side or back to 
back along the narrow, crooked streets that were red soil 
thrown over rocks. As the surface eroded, the rocks pro- 
truded like ugly moles and wracked the wheels of the night 
soil cart. 

The Kim house formed an L. The roof was of rice straw, 
dark with mildew, and the walls were baked mud. Inside the 
house, beyond the flimsy, sagging door, was a platform of 
raised flooring which covered two-thirds of one wing". The 
baked mud stove with its elbow-jointed chimney was sur- 
prisingly efficient. Adjoining it was the sleeping kong, also of 
baked mud, with tunnels underneath in which fires could be 
built to warm the sleeping surface in winter. The shorter end 
of the L was without flooring or platform and was used for 
storage of wood and charcoal and the hanging of meat or 
fowl or fish, when the Kims were fortunate enough to come 
by such food. In each arm of the L there was one window 
opening, without frame or glass. In the winters these open- 
ings were covered over with rice straw matting. 

Mother Kim hurried to the task of cheering her husband 
by serving him a fine meal. Because it was quick and sooth- 
ing, she made soup from powdered soya beans. Then she 
would surprise everyone by serving Kimchcc and, as an 
added fillip, she cooked rice to pack the unfilled corners of 
their stomachs. With a recklessness she had not shown before, 
she brewed tea from the hoarded pinches of China leaves. It 
was against the law to possess Chinese tea, but it was much 
tastier than the bitter, low-grade stuff forced on them by the 
Japanese. A Korean family was considered fortunate indeed 
to come by some. Mother Kim had a brother who worked 
on the docks at Inchon and had stolen several tins while un- 
loading a Russian ship and he had given one to his 1 sister. This 


occurred a year before Kim was bora and now the metal 
container was about empty. 

Mother Kim guardedly watched her husband as he squatted 
in the shade smoking his bamboo-stemmed pipe, coughing 
now and again with a sepulchral sound. He had not spoken 
since the train official beat him. with the cane. 

She knew there were welts across his shoulders, but these 
did not worry her; it was her concern to salve the hurt to his 
pride. The sipping of contraband Chinese tea would be an act 
of independence which would ease his hurt . . . not that a 
man could ever wholly forget such a thing. 

"How long must we wait? How long can we wait?" he 
asked. She glanced fearfully toward the door as though she 
expected a Japanese policeman to be standing there listening. 

"At each meeting they teU us to wait, that the League of 
Nations will do for us what we will not do for ourselves. 
Hah!" His voice grew angry, "While we wait, my father 
dies in prison. His crime was preaching freedom for the peo- 
ple of this land of Morning Calm. While we wait, our chil- 
dren go without schooling and are scrawny from empty 

Father Kim sucked on a dying pipe because he had only 
enough tobacco for an after dinner smoke. "You and I work 
the fields the daylight hours and for our labors we receive less 
than enough to buy the rice to feed us and cotton cloth to 
cover our bodies. Today's tram ride cost us one yen twenty 
sen. I must work three days from dawn to dark for that 
amount, and with rice seventy sen a kilo, we have but enough 
for life. How long can we wait?" he repeated hopelessly. 
Further protest was smothered in a fit of coughing. 

Shortly after they went to bed a wind went whistling 
through the streets, blowing clouds of dust before it and 
drawing in its wake a soft, gray rain. Kim heard the rain on 
the roof and turned its patter into the beat of a horse's hoofs. 


That night he had his first of ten thousand dreams about a 
horse that he would some day own. It was just such a horse 
as he had seen over the rail at the track. The dream was so 
vivid that he began to tremble in his sleep and Chung Soon 
held him tightly in her arms. 

At the first hint of light in the sky to the ea s st, Mother Kim 
was feeding twigs and small wood into the stove so that just 
enough fire was made to prepare the morning rice and heat 
water to drink. 

When the sisters stepped outside with Kim, they saw their 
father already standing in the small triangle of land embraced 
by the two arms of the L, Wearing only a f undoshi, the mus- 
cles and bones of his thin body were rigidly defined through 
his taut, parchment-like skin. His spindly, muscle-knotted 
legs were braced against the hacking and spewing he must do 
to relieve his congested lungs. Before he was through he was 
sweating and exhausted. 

Once he got his breath, he recited the Four Truths: 
"Birth is pain, old age is pain, sickness is pain and death is pain." 

The morning meal consisted of a bowl of rice and many 
cups of hot water. As the rim of sun came over the hill the 
mother and father hurried to the fields. Chung Soon was left 
in charge. While Kirn did small chores in the yard the two 
sisters aired the sleeping pads and cleaned the house and 
rinsed the rice bowls, 

Kim wandered onto the street and his eyes turned in the 
direction of the race track as though drawn by a magnet. He 
began to run. From time to time he fell and his knees became 
scraped and bleeding. There were many people and carts on 
the road, but he pressed through and around them. At one 
time, far behind, he heard Chung Soon calling, but this he 
ignored and pressed on to his goal. 

The morning sun was hot and he began to pant. He was 
nearly exhausted when the high wooden shell of the grand- 


stand came Into view. Completely done in, he reached the 
shadows of the vast structure and crawled into a shallow 
ditch by the outer rail and, sitting in the cool grass, watched 
the horses. His lips were stiff and his tongue thick from want 
of water, but he clung to his post. Many horses carne onto the 
track and finally Kim was rewarded when he saw his dream 
horse circling toward him. 

He was oblivious to a group of well-dressed Japanese men 
who came to the rail. The flame-colored horse with the white 
stockings and white ribbon down its face came to the outer 
rail while the rider talked with the man. If there was a single 
detail of the animal he had missed the previous day, it was 
burnt into his memory now. 

The horse turned away and, circling into position in front 
of the group, spun off down the track at a run. To Kim It 
was the fastest movement he had ever seen, even faster than 
the Yongdongpo train. He held his breath for fear the horse 
might fall as he himself had fallen on the road. From the ditch 
all Kim could see was the rider's red cap bobbing along the 
rail at a fierce speed until the horse came into view at the 
upper end of the straight stretch. The horse passed by and 
slowed and came back to the rail while the men clustered 
around the one who held a. shining metal disc in his hand. 
There was shouting and laughter at what they saw and the 
rider laughed with them. Sweating freely and with a rim of 
white lather under the leather reins, the horse was eager for 
more. She snorted and let out a deep sigh and Kim thought 
of his father when he went to the sleeping pad at night. 

When the rider took the horse away toward the buildings 
on the far side of the track, the men called to a water vender 
and all drank thirstily. Kim watched and momentarily forgot 
about the horse and thought of the long walk home. He was 
badly frightened when he realized one of the Japanese was 
spealdng to him. The man, taller than the others, was in uni- 
form and his high, leather boots shone in the sun. Kim scram- 


bled to his feet and stood stiffly at attention with his eyes to 
the ground as his father had taught him. Though Kim listened 
carefully, it was difficult to understand the man. 

"Are you lost?" 

Slowly Kim formed his reply, "No, Honored One, I live 
over there." He pointed. 

"What are you doing in a ditch beside the track?" 

"Watching, Honorable One." 

"Watching what?" 

"The horses." Kim lifted his eyes for a fleeting moment. 
"Watching the flame horse with the white legs, Honored 

"Why that horse?" The voice was not so curt. 

"It is the horse I sleep with." Kim had meant to Kay 
"dream of." The men laughed and he ducked his head lower 
in embarrassment. 

"Why do you sleep with my horse? 7 ' The voice was nearly 
gentle now. 

"It is the number one, Honorable One." 

The Japanese was pleased and his gloved hand patted the 
top of Kim's head. 

"You have a good eye for horses, little one." He called the 
water vender and ordered the man to serve the boy. Kim 
drank thirstily. When he was finally through, he took a deep, 
gasping breath and looked up at the man. lie smiled briefly. 
The gloved hand came from a pocket and between the thumb 
and forefinger was a yen note. Kim looked into the face of 
his new friend before he could believe the money was to be 
his. He took it and bowed stiffly. When he straightened, the 
man and his group had turned away and were walking to- 
ward a long, black automobile waiting near the gate, Kim 
watched them until they had entered the machine and it 
moved out of sight. 

Refreshed by the water and stunned by his good fortune, 
Kim turned his attention to the track again, There were few 


animals in sight now and his Flame was nowhere to be seen. 
He sat in the ditch and waited patiently, but as the sun grew 
warmer, fewer horses remained on the track. He wanted to 
go to the stables where the horses had disappeared, but was 
afraid. After a time, when he was certain no more horses 
would appear, he tucked the yen note in the toe of his rubber 
slipper and began the long walk home. Every now and again 
he would stop and look into his slipper to see that the yen 
note was safe. 

In an open field he saw an ox walking a circle as it drew 
water from a well. He crossed to it and gaining permission 
from the boy tending the ox, knelt by the sluiceway and 
washed his face and the blood from his knees. As he reached 
the rim of the road again he heard the Yongdongpo train 
whistle and it was not long before he saw familiar faces. The 
old woman called to him in an angry voice. 

"Are you not Kim Huk Moon?" 

Kim stopped. With his big toe rubbing against the yen 
note he bowed to the old woman. "I am Kim Huk Moon." 

"Your sisters have been looking for you. You ran away, 
you should be whipped. You are a bad one!" 

Kim turned away, embarrassed with so many people star- 
ing at him as the old woman's shrill voice followed him down 
the crowded street. Then Chung Soon, red-faced from run- 
ning, was beside him. She gave him a thoughtful look and 
taking his hand, they walked together along the street. They 
found Nam Soon waiting for them and she began to scold, 
but Chung Soon silenced her. 

With reluctance and considerable care, Kim stepped out of 
his slippers at the door and wondered how he could claim the 
yen note without being seen. Chung Soon gave him a bowl of 
cold rice and while eating he sat where he could watch his 
slippers. When he was through, she unrolled a sleeping pad 
for him on the kong. 

He fought to stay awake In the cool dimness of the room 


and forced his ears to follow the voices of his sisters. When 
he heard them playing hopscotch in the street he slipped from 
the sleeping pad and retrieved the money from his slipper. He 
went to sleep with it clutched tightly in his hand. 

He was still tired when Chung Soon awakened him, but 
knew he must be up before his mother and father returned 
from the fields. While Chung Soon built up a small fire and 
began to heat water, Kim rolled the pad and put it against the 
wall With the yen note still clutched in his hand, lie went 
into the yard to look for a place to hide his fortune. He could 
see no place to his liking and the bill began to burn in his 
sweating palm. He went back inside. Nam Soon had gone to 
the riverbank to fish for stray bits of firewood and Chung 
Soon was busy with her chores. She squatted on her hunkers 
blowing life into the fire and smiled at him over her shoulder. 

"Do you feel better, Little One?" she asked. 

"I am still tired." 

Chung Soon took a deep breath and poured it onto the 
smoldering fire. It came to life flaming. She said, "You play 
too hard; you run too much and fall down too often. That is 
why you are tired and your knees are raw." 

Kim knew she was telling him no mention would be made 
of his absence. He held out his hand and opened it. She took 
the damp paper, straightened it and her eyes widened as she 
worked the creases from it carefully. 

"I will put it in a safe place for you." 

Kim followed as she hurried into the storeroom wing of 
the L. From a shelf she took a glass jar the Han River had 
brought them some days before. Removing the top, she 
dropped the money into it and then replaced the cover 
tightly. Together they placed the glass in a hole underneath 
the mud sill and covered it over. 

When their parents entered the house they carried fagot 
bundles scavenged along the way and weer slow-moving and 
weak from fatigue As they were washing in the yard Nam 


Soon arrived . . . with a timber she had found near the river's 
edge. It weighed nearly as much as she did and to get it home 
she almost had to crawl with it. It was a stroke of fortune 
that could not often happen with thousands of people search- 
ing the turgid water from its source to where it married up 
with the Yellow Sea. Such a piece of fuel would cook the 
rice, boil the water and heat the sleeping kong for a week 
during the winter. 

Nam Soon had gone into the water up to her armpits to 
reach the timber and Father Kim cautioned her about going 
so far into the river. 

The meal of rice and hot water was soon over. Because 
of their hard work in the fields, the mother and father shared 
a small portion of pickled fish from the stone crock in the 
storeroom. Father Kim also had a cup of Japanese tea to 
salve his tired muscles and ease his cough, which usually 
started up with the cool, moist air rising from the river. 
While Mother Kirn and the two girls cleaned away after the 
meal and rolled out the sleeping pads, Father Bom went to 
the street side of the house and lighted his bamboo-stemmed 
pipe. Kim joined him with a Idckball of cloth tightly bound 
around a cork stuck with four chicken tail feathers. He was 
clever with the ball and by striking it with his toe, heel or 
palm could keep the feathered thing in the air for long pe- 

The agility of his son pleased but saddened Father Kim and 
he groaned as he faced up to the hopelessness of life. How 
could a man whose life savings were less than fifteen yen, 
send a son to school which cost fifty sen a month? His body 
would not stand longer hours in the fields and he thought of 
investing his small savings in rubber shoes and other wearing 
apparel and opening a little shop . . . the girls were old 
enough to tend it during the day. This idea was discarded 
when he looked along the street and realized that almost 
every neighbor had some sort of wares counter. 


Father Kim knocked the ash from his pipe and rose to go 
to bed. Unless a man owned land, at least six tun, there was no 
future. He had told himself this every day since he was a 
young man about to marry, yet after fourteen years of hard 
work and thrift, he had but enough for rice and would never 
own land. 

Two hours after the sun settled into the Yellow Sea, the 
hard-working Korean villagers were abed. The district was 
an assignment coveted by the Japanese police for there was 
no trouble and night patrols could go slack. In the station 
building adjoining the railway house the police could play 
cards or sleep the night through with ease of mind, for they 
knew their charges lacked the energy or spirit to foment 

Tired as he was, Kim thought of the horse* Once again he 
lived through every moment of the day. When he linally 
slept it was to have a vivid dream of the red sorrel 



N THE MORNING Kim was seized with an irresistible desire 
to return to the track and his eyes kept seeking the direction 
toward the high wooden stands. He tried to get excited over 
a game of kickball with a playmate from across the street, but 
his attention was so divided that he was beaten many times. 
He left the game and entered the house to find his sisters in 
the triangle of beaten earth washing the field clothes worn 
by their parents. Chung Soon's eyes lifted to meet his as she 
slap-slapped a wet garment on a rock. Kim turned away, 
passed through the house and onto the street. Without pause, 
he struck off for the track. 

Chung Soon knew he was leaving and her heart was 
clutched with fear. Where was he going? What did he do? 
How had he come by the yen note? 

"I must know where he goes, what he does." 

Nam Soon answered shortly, "And I will be left with all 
die work." 

"I will hurry. I will go into the hills searching for wood 
for you when I come back." 

With Nam Soon's grumbling in her ears, Chung Soon hur- 



ried out and began to run toward the shrill-voiced woman's 
house near the intersection. She slackened her pace to a fast 
walk when she saw a policeman and lowered her eyes and 
walked stiffly by the man. Then she began to run again. She 
was at the five street intersection before she saw Kim and 
slackened her pace to allow a discreet distance to remain be- 
tween them. 

Kim walked with assurance. Though the day was hot, it 
did not worry him and it was not long before he saw the 
grandstand looming in the distance . , , and then he was in its 
shade and at the track rail. There were many horses circling 
the oval, but a glance told him his horse was not out yet. He 
climbed to the top of the wooden rail and with his toes curled 
about the vertical pole he was secure and happy with the bet- 
ter view. 

Chung Soon arrived at the track a few minutes after Kim 
and, clinging to the shadow of the structure, she gained a 
view of the track. She saw Kim perched on the railing, 
hunched over in a comfortable position with elbows on his 
knees and his chin cupped in his hands. She remembered how 
strangely affected he had been on the first day . * . she had 
thought it was fever, but it had been only the sight of the 
horses. He had been hypnotized by them. 

Chung Soon turned to make her way home. All her ques- 
tions had been answered save one. How had he come by the 
yen note? It could not have been in dishonest manner or he 
would not have returned. She sighed over her problem and 
hurried along the dusty road. 

Kim waited patiently and he began to sec things that he 
had missed before. Some of the horses wore cloth wraps 
around their legs, others ran free of bandages. There were 
riders who appeared to float on the backs of their mounts like 
feathers while others jolted along like rocks. Once in a while 
the scene would become exciting as two riders challenged 


one another and let their mounts run full out for a short 

Then his horse came onto the track! Instantly all the others 
were lost to view as he saw it come through the gate on the 
far side, and he gripped the pole tightly with his toes to keep 
from falling. The filly minced along the outside rail with her 
white stockings twinkling in the sunlight. Kirn drank in every 
movement, every gesture and was happy when he saw the 
rider floating along with the horse, not seeming to touch it 
but as much a part of it as the neck or head. 



Following the outside rail, the horse came within a few feet 
of him and he could smell the sweet grass fragrance and hear 
the rider soft-talking to it 

The Japanese rider saw the ragged little Korean on the 
fence and remembered him. When he nodded and spoke po- 
litely Kim nearly fell from his perch. 

The horse circled the track at a slow pace and then was let 
out in a gallop. Twice around at this easy pace and then the 
rider took her to the middle of the track where he pulled 
his cap down and, crouching lower, let the eager animal out 
to a fast gallop. Once around at this speed and they left the 
track through the rear gateway. Kim was bereft at this sud- 
den loss and looked longingly across the track. The tempta- 
tion was too much. 


His pace slowed as he crossed the track and his heart 
pounded the closer he approached, but his curiosity drove 
him on. He came to the rear gate and followed a road 
through the line of stalls until he saw his horse being rubbed 
vigorously. When the grooms were finished the flame red 
coat shone like the sun in the early morning. A gnarled old 
man stood nearby with the rider, watching. The two care- 
fully inspected the horse. A youth of twelve or thirteen came 
from the stable and, taking the lead rope in hand, began to 
walk the horse in a circle. His manner was bored, nonchalant 
and Kim was instantly filled with a venomous hatred. He 
twisted and squirmed as he fought the urge to rush out and 
tear the rope from his hands. 

All along the area between the mud-walled stables other 
horses were being saddled, rubbed or walked. A fiery stal- 
lion was brought from a stall It reared high in the air lifting 
the man on the lead strap from the ground. Kim wished the 
rider would not get on this one. While one groom tried to 
quiet the wild horse, a second cupped his hands and the rider 
stepped into them and lifted himself easily, fearlessly onto the 
horse. Once he was in the saddle the stallion quieted some- 
what and Kim breathed again. As the rider turned toward 
the track he noticed Kim, who braced himself stiffly and 
bowed formally. 

He turned his attention to the flame-colored horse as the 
old man ran his hand under the blanket, feeling the neck, the 
shoulder and barrel The filly nuzzled against him and Kim 
was happy that the horse had not shown such affection for 
the lead boy. The old man spoke in Japanese, which Kim 
could barely understand, and the boy led the horse into the 

Kim returned to the grandstand and paused in the shade 
. . . home seemed a long way off at the moment lie noticed 
a small hole leading into the dark, cavernous section under 
the seats. With difficulty he squeezed through and when his 


eyes became accustomed to the darkness, he saw that the 
ground was littered with a confusion of things thrown down 
by the people who sat overhead. He began to paw about in 
this scavenger's delight. There were papers, bottles, age- 
hardened orange peels, apple cores and, find of finds, many 
saw ends of wood! Obviously, it was virgin territory. 

The sight of this treasure did not throw Kim into a panic. 
He had been with his sisters on too many foraging expedi- 
tions not to know how to proceed. Selecting an area near the 
small hole where the light was better, he began to sort 
through the refuse methodically. The bottles, apple cores 
and orange peels were tossed into a discard pile. The papers 
were flattened and put one on the other and the pieces of 
wood went next to the paper. He came upon an eight-foot 
length of stout cord and his breath sucked in gustily at the 
sight of it. 

He had worked his way through a forty foot square when 
his fingers touched a metal disc. He rushed with it to the 
light. It was a fifty sen piece! He slipped it into his rubber 
slipper, panting a little from his good fortune. He looked into 
the deep cavern . . . each day he would sort through a section 
and carry paper and wood home, but any money he found 
would go into the jar and one day he would have enough to 
buy a horse. 

Wrapping the wood in the paper, he formed a large bun- 
dle and secured it with the cord which was long enough to 
make knapsack loops for his shoulders. He was dismayed to 
find the bundle too large to shove through the hole. Patiently, 
he untied the cord and shoved the lot, piecemeal, through the 
opening and squeezed outside after it. Once again he tied the 
bundle and found he would have to walk nearly bent double 
to support it. Grimly he started out. 

The sun was hot and soon he was sweating until it ran 
into his eyes, partially blinding him. Every time he stumbled 
the bundle was thrown from right or left and he would have 


to lunge in the direction of the load to regain the point of 
balance. His forward progress was punctuated by these tipsy 
maneuvers and his sidewise progress was nearly that of his 
movement forward. When he had gone as far as his legs 
would carry him, he staggered to a halt. The load overcom- 
ing him, he was pulled backwards and lay in the dusty road 
propped against the bundle. After a time he had the strength 
to slip his pinched shoulders from the cord and was embar- 
rassed to see a knot o people gathering about him. 

An elder asked, "Are you hurt, Small One?" 

Kim scrambled to his feet and bowed, "The load is heavy, 
I am resting." 

The old man nodded. "Do not lift your guts out. There is 
enough pain in life without that." He bowed and went on, 
followed by the curious. One avaricious-looking man re- 
mained nearby while Kim sat on the wood watching the fel- 
low covertly. There were deep purple tattoo marks on his 
arms, neck and chin. 

The man spoke, "May I help you with your heavy load?" 

The words were Korean, but the voice was not: neither 
was it Japanese. Kim pretended to be entranced by the Yong- 
dongpo train that was waving a black plume of smoke in the 
air on its way south toward the Han River, He well knew 
what such an offer meant . . . half the load at the end! He slid 
off the bundle until his buttocks rested on the road and began 
to fit his aching shoulders into the cord loops. As he strained 
back in an arch, the coin rolled from his rubber slipper and 
lay in the dust. Kim gasped and his hand darted out to grasp 
the coin and a handful of dust with it. 

The man moved closer. His tongue ran over his blue lips. 
"That is much money for a young one to have. Where did 
you steal it? And the wood?" He leaned over until his face 
was but a foot from Kim's. "Give me the coin before I break 
your arm." 

"Go away!" Kim shrieked. Startled, the man jumped 


back. Kim squirmed from his bindings, sprang to his feet 
and began to run on terror-driven legs. He cried out when 
he saw a number of people moving toward him along the 
road. His terror evaporated when Chung Soon broke from 
the crowd and came flying toward him with several neigh- 
bor men at her winged heels. Kim was surprised when Chung 
Soon and the men rushed right on by him and for the first 
time he realized his pursuer was not breathing down his neck. 
The tattooed man had picked up the bundle, but when he 
saw the wrathful vanguard descending, he dropped the wood 
and took off across the bordering rice paddy. No one fol- 

Kim was so weak and shaky he had to sit down. Chung 
Soon placed the wood beside him and squatted so she could 
look into his face. 

"Are you hurt, Little One?" 

Kim shook his head, but did not look at her or try to speak. 
He continued to stare across the fields toward the Han River 
and the railway tracks. In the distance he could see the tat- 
tooed man still running toward the Yongdongpo Bridge. 
Chung Soon took a cloth from her belt and wiped his face 
and neck. 

"Why do you go to the place where the horses run?" 

Kim looked into her eyes and once more turned his gaze 
toward the river. Without replying he got to his feet and 
began to trudge down the road toward the village while 
Chung Soon took up the bundle and followed after. 

The shrill- voiced old woman was waiting for them and her 
keen eyes ferreted Kim from the throng as he came around 
the bend of road. She could be heard above the noise of all 
else. Kim burned with embarrassment but Chung Soon at his 
shoulder, muttered, "Pay the Noisy One no heed." 

Being ignored angered the woman more and her threats 
became active. "I know you, Kim Huk Moon, you are a lazy 


runaway. I will tell your father the trouble you cause your 
sister Chung Soon." 

Kim was shaken by this for fear he would be prevented 
from returning to the track. The thought of not seeing his 
flame-colored horse again wrenched his heart until he let out 
a cry. Chung Soon put her free arm around him and hurried 
him along the street. There was only one more barrier to pass 
... at the intersection there was the Japanese policeman who 
ofttimes stopped people and inspected bundles. What could 
she tell the officer, where had they gotten the paper, wood 
and stout cord? They saw the policeman, standing with arms 
folded, in the center of the road and the flowing tide of peo- 
ple broke around him like water around a rock. The two 
slipped by in the current and once they were at a safe dis- 
tance, wings touched their heels and they ran the remainder 
of the way home. 

They arrived in the triangle of yard, breathless, Nam Soon 
was inclined to scold, but subsided at the sight of the wood 
and paper. As she began to build the small fire against the 
arrival of their parents. Chung Soon and Kim unwrapped the 
bundle in the storage room. The wood was stacked and the 
papers carefully folded to be looked at by Father Kim. 

Chung Soon then considered Kim soberly. "What will we 
tell our father? He will ask about the paper, he will want to 

Kim worried over the questions, but found no answer, He 
shook his head. Chung Soon said, "It fell from the train and 
rolled into the ditch?" 

Kim nodded and held out the coin. Chung Scon's hand 
darted out and took it. She examined it closely and bit into 
it. She looked over her shoulder to sec where Nam Soon was 
before she handed it back. 

"Put it with the other," she whispered. 

Mother and Father Kim arrived from the fields* As usual, 
they were exhausted to the point of collapse, Their hand 


bath from the earthenware bowls in the yard refreshed them 
somewhat. As Father Kim got into dry clothing he saw the 
wood and papers and was pleased with such a windfall and 
patted Chung Soon on the shoulder. 

While the evening meal was being prepared, he sat in the 
cooling breeze coming off the river and studied the papers 
carefully. His work-roughened forefinger moved slowly 
down the column of figures. When a spasm of coughing 
seized him, the finger would joggle up and down, losing his 
place, but this failed to bother him for he knew only a few of 
the characters. His reading consisted in searching the long 
columns for the few he knew. 

He called Kim to him. "All men should know how to read 
and write." 

Kim bowed. "Yes, Honored Father." 

"Would you be awake and seize on each figure as you 
would a piece of fish if I make arrangements with the Hon- 
orable Yu Jik Soo? 

Kim lowered his eyes to hide his panic. If he went to read- 
ing and writing, he could not go to the track. He asked 
shyly, "Why don't you teach me?" 

His father coughed. "I know but a few characters, not 
enough to be of use." Father Kim lowered his voice, "I am 
the first in my family to be without this knowledge. It is the 
same with all since the Japanese came to our Land of Chosen. 
I will go to see Yu Jik Soo tonight." 

Kim was in such a panic it was an effort to swallow his rice. 
After the sparse meal his father filled the long-stemmed pipe 
and left while Kim squatted against the wall of the hunt and 

Father Kim found Schoolmaster Yu seated on a rice straw 
mat gazing across the Han. The old scholar was an honored 
elder for risking imprisonment by conducting a Korean 
school. Father Kim spoke of being unable to read or write 
and his desire to have his son learn the characters. 


Yu nodded in agreement. He removed the pipe stem from 
his thin, blue lips and his free hand stroked wisps of hair that 
hung from his chin like white silk threads. 

"And so it is all over this sad Land of Chosen. We who 
love freedom and yearn for knowledge are stifled by cruel 
masters. We who printed our language in movable type be- 
fore any other people and who had a phonetic alphabet five 
hundred years ago, will be a nation of illiterates in another 
twenty-five years." Yu's low, sonorous voice shook with 
emotion. "Your generation is nearly wordless, that of your 
son will be. Unless you are willing to send your son to a 
Japanese school to learn to worship a living man as a God, to 
bow his neck to the yoke. Through their schools they hope 
to bleed from our children the desire of freedom. "Then our 
Nippon masters will have reached their goal . . . those edu- 
cated to their beliefs or human illiterates to grow rice and 
dig metals from the hills." 

The old man filled and lighted his pipe. "My hours are 
filled with teaching the sons of a hundred fathers like your- 
self. This morning I could have taken no one . . . tonight, I 
can. The son of Wang Jin Won died of the coughing sick- 
ness today. Kim Huk Moon can take his place. He will have 
two hours a day, the hours between three and five in the 
afternoon. He will come alone, by the river pathway and he 
is to be warned of the risk I take.' 7 

Father Yu sucked in a deep breath of pleasure. The cool- 
ness of the night and dampness from the river set him to 
coughing. The spasm was as severe as he had ever experi- 
enced and Old Yu watched with concern. He was shaken 
with a deep compassion for this man and knew Kim could 
ill afford payment, no matter how little it might be. Yet, a 
man has his honor. Yu thought of a small falsehood; he had 
used it with others. He knocked the ash from his pipe. 

"Many, many years ago your father loaned me a book 


which had the phonetic alphabet in Hangul script. It was the 
first I had seen. Since that day I have been indebted to your 
family. I will take your son to my class. Once a week you 
can bring me a bundle of wood to help keep the winter chill 
from my old bones. 

Kim saw his father moving along the darkened street. From 
the very way he walked, the boy knew the arrangements for 
school had been made. He wanted to cry out and run into 
the darkness before he heard the bad news. His father stood 
before him, gaunt and thin. 

"It has been arranged, my son. You will go to the classes 
of Yu Jik Soo." 

Kim shivered. "Yes, Father." 

"The hours for your class will be from three o'clock in the 
afternoon until five." 

Kim's heart bounded and he smiled happily. He could go 
to the track and still be back in time for the school. 

"You will be alert and polite. The Honorable Yu is a 
long-time friend of your grandfather. Each seventh day you 
will take to him a bundle of wood. You will find the wood 
in the hills and along the river. 7 ' 

"Yes, Father-" 

"More important, the police will imprison our friend if 
they learn he is teaching Korean. You will use the river path- 
way, you will move as a shadow and always go alone." 

"Yes, Father, I understand," 

Father Kim went inside and Kim could hear him telling 
his mother. Chung Soon found him in the darkness and 
squatted beside him. 

"I was afraid you would get a morning class," she told him. 
"You must be careful not to be late." Chung Soon smiled, "I 
will find the wood for you." 

Kim remembered his treasure under the seats at the track. 
"I will bring Schoolmaster Yu his wood." 


The next morning Kim was in a panting haste to get to 
the track, yet he knew he must avoid the shrill-voiced 
woman's hutch. Her wild yelling would reveal his secret to 
the entire village. Though it was longer, he took a side 
street to avoid her and was soon past this threat. There were 
not many people on the road in the half light before dawn 
and Kim had a heart tremor as he approached the spot where 
he had been accosted by the tattooed man. He began to run 
and the stiff morning wind in his face made it heavy labor. 

Once beyond the scene of his terror, he continued at a 
dogtrot. His eagerness to gain the track made the distance 
seem long as he ran most of the way. Without pause, he 
slipped under the rail and crossed the track and was standing 
near his horse's stall when the rider came from a house 
nearby. Upon seeing Kim, the rider's eyebrows lifted. He 
said, "Good morning." 

Kim stiffened and bowed, "Good morning, worthy rider 
of horses." 

"Where do you live, Young One?" 

"By the river and railroad track," Kim pointed. 

"It is a long way." The rider was about to say more, but 
the two grooms threw open the door and led the plunging 
stallion from its stall. The horse was nervous, edgy and a 
constant care to the men holding it. The old man came from 
the same building from which the rider had appeared and, 
with the rider at his elbow, he went over the restive animal 
carefully. One of the grooms brought a saddle from the build- 
ing and there was another outburst of rearing and plunging 
before it was secure. The rider settled like a feather on the 
horse's back and, picking up the reins, turned the animal 
toward the track. Kim followed just out of heel range. The 
ricocheting feet were kicking up puffballs of dust and gravel 
which the wind carried into Kim's face. He closed his eyes 
and moved to the right to escape the stinging dirt. 

When he opened his eyes the horse was at the gate lead- 


ing onto the track where the whipping wind flung a sheet of 
paper about its front legs. The stallion reared and swung 
about violently. The rider was thrown heavily against the rail 
and his boot caught in the stirrup. He tried desperately to 
swing upward and grasp the stirrup strap, but the horse 
whirled and the horseman struck the corner post with a crash. 
Then the horse began to lunge and kick at the helpless man 
swinging from its side. Kim cried out in terror as he charged 
forward. The horse swung in another horrifying circle and 
the reins slapped into Kim's hands. He was hurled into the air 
and struck the railing heavily, but clung on desperately. The 
frantic, savage animal pirouetted violently and Kim, like a 
stone in a sling, made a full circle without touching the 

The horse tried to run, but the weight of the boy tore 
cruelly at the bit and again the animal resorted to whirling. 

There were shouts and the grooms ran to the scene. The 
horse was subdued by many hands and the old man knelt 
beside the stunned youth. Unaware of his rescue, Kim lay in 
the dirt with his hands frozen around the reins. The old 
trainer had to pry him loose, finger by finger. Others re- 
leased the rider's foot from the stirrup and the crazed animal 
was led back to the stable. 

The rider got slowly to his feet. He found his crop in the 
dust and began to slap himself clean with it. When he tried 
to take a step, the foot that had been locked in the stirrup 
buckled and muscles in his jaw rippled under the skin. Forc- 
ing himself to walk without limping, he went to where Kim 
sat on the ground and helped the dazed youngster to his feet. 
His gentle hands wiped the grime from the boy's face and 
brushed his clothes. 

Uncontrollable tears slipped down Kim's cheeks and mixed 
with the dirt. The rider whispered, "You are too brave a one 
to cry." Kim gulped, blinked and the tears were stopped. 

The old trainer said, "Are you all right, Kan?" 


Kan, the rider, answered slowly, "Yes, Takco, old friend, 
I am not hurt." He took a deep breath and his hand rested on 
Kim's head. "But for my little friend, my brains would be on 
every post around this track. We must look to the boy." He 
took Kim's hand in his and began to walk toward the stables. 
The boy wavered on uncertain legs and Takco took his other 
hand and the three walked together. 

Kim had never seen such a house as the two men took him 
into. There were wooden floors in. every room and rich rugs 
and shining furniture. Takeo clapped his hands and servants 
came running. Kan stifled a groan as one pulled the boot from 
his injured leg. Inspection showed it to be swelling, but 
Takeo ruled that nothing serious had happened to it. Kim 
was told to take off his clothes and the trainer went over his 
body as carefully as he had the flame horse. There were many 
welts and bruises and Kim admitted his back was beginning 
to stiffen. Takeo again rendered the same verdict that he had 
with Kan ... no serious injury. 

The rider sat on a high cushion and lighted a cigarette. A 
servant brought a deep basin of hot water to him and he 
grimaced as he put his injured ankle into it. He spoke in Jap- 
anese and Kim was taken to the bathroom where the servant 
made him sit in a stone tub with steaming hot water to his 
neck. The man stood nearby and when the water began to 
cool, it was drained off and the tub refilled with more water 
near the boiling point. Kim watched his skin turn red and felt 
his head grow giddy. Finally the servant let him step from the 
tub and began to rub him so vigorously with a harsh towel 
Kim expected his skin to roll off his bones. When dry, the 
servant put salve on the open bruises. He got into his clothes 
and was directed into the room where Kan and Takeo waited. 
The rider motioned to a cushion near him while Takco 
poured and handed him a cup of tea. It tasted sweet and had 
the fragrance of flowers. Kan smiled. 

"What is your name, my friend?" 


"Kim Huk Moon." Though the tea was hot, he gulped it 
and didn't mind the burn. 

"What does your father do?" 

"He works in the fields for the rice grower Mild." 

"Why do you come so far to the track each day?" Kan 
lifted his ankle from the water and the servant refilled the 

"Because I dream of your red horse with the four white 

Takeo refilled Kim's cup. He exchanged glances with Kan 
and the rider nodded. The old man asked, "Would you like 
to work with Kan and me and our horses?" 

"Oh, yes! Oh, yes!" Kim cried and the tea slopped from 
his cup as he began to tremble with excitement. "I would 
like nothing more than to lead the red horse as I saw the 
other boy doing." 

Kan touched the top of his head. "You will be more than 
a lead boy. We will teach you, Takeo and I, and you will be 
a trainer of horses, a number one trainer." ' 

From his purse he took a ten yen note. "It is your first 
month's salary as apprentice trainer to Takeo." 

Kim returned the money. "I cannot work all the day. I 
must go to school in the afternoon. Perhaps you would let me 
work for less." 

The two men laughed heartily and the money was forced 
into Kim's hand. Kan dried his foot and pulled on his boot. 
He stood and stamped the floor to test the ankle. 

"All right, number one trainer and number two trainer, 
there are horses to make ready for the races, or the Honor- 
able Colonel will be unhappy." 



FOR THE TWO HOURS he spent each afternoon at 
school, life became an enchanted dream for Kim. The long 
walk to and from the track, the longer hours and the excite- 
ment of his new life left him drained of energy by the time 
he joined the other students to sit before the old scholar. 
There was no time to prepare his lessons and ofttimes his 
head nodded in sleep as the peacefulness of the classroom 
overcame him. Teacher Yu was unhappy with his new stu- 
dent and decided to speak to the father if the boy did not im- 

Each morning, as his father and mother left, Kim would 
hurry to the track. On arrival at the stables he would enter 
the house of Takeo and Kan where the servants accepted him 
as a special one. The old trainer and rider would be up and 
sipping their morning tea and Kim would breakfast with 
them. He was introduced to countless new dishes and for the 
first time in his life there were no hollows in his stomach cry- 
ing for attention. His stamina improved to the point where 
he could dogtrot from his home to the track without tiring. 

The two Japanese horsemen had taken the boy to their 



hearts. Kan had told him, "You were born with a love for 
horses. Old Takeo and I will teach you all we know about 
them. You will become the number one horseman in all of 

They bought Kim an outfit of clothes, even to the shiny 
boots and riding crop and the youngster looked like a minia- 
ture Kan when he wore them. Neither of the older men ap- 
peared to notice that the boy wore his finery only at the 
track and always changed into his ragged things before leav- 
ing in the afternoon. 

When Kan was on the track exercising the horses, Takeo 
poured into Kim's ear the horse secrets he had learned in a 
lifetime. With meticulous care the old man drew the skeleton 
of a horse and each day added a muscle, a tendon or a vital 
organ, which Kim had to identify and explain its function. 
Sometimes the boy's brain groaned with the load being put on 
it, but his appetite to learn about horses was insatiable and he 
was able to absorb and retain the most meager morsel. 

There were other things Kim also learned. Kan and Takeo 
had arrived from Japan three years previous and were 
in the employ of the Colonel who commanded a Japanese 
cavalry regiment. On one occasion Kim was presented to the 
Colonel and Kan recounted the tale of his courage with the 
raging stallion. Kim recognized the officer as the man who 
had given the yen note ... the beginning of all his good for- 
tune. The Colonel was a wealthy, sports-loving man who 
took his military post and duties lightly. Old Takeo had 
trained horses for the Colonel's father and Kan had been rid- 
ing for the man since he was old enough to mount a horse. 

There were ten race horses in the Colonel's Korean stable. 
These were the best of the young crop from his estate in 
Japan and had been brought to Korea to be kept under the 
eye of the Colonel and trained by Takeo. All would return 
to Japan for the summer race season and to escape the annual 
Korean deluge in July. Takeo and Kan often talked of their 


return to Japan and their families and considered their time 
in Korea as a period of exile. The thought of being parted 
from his friends worried Kim, but they assured him it would 
be some years before the Colonel was transferred. Takeo told 
him, "Do not spend your time borrowing trouble." It was the 
one piece of advice they gave that he could not completely 

The time of day Kim loved most was when he took Flame 
to the walking circle. Then it was that he and the filly were 
alone. Walk and walk, step and step in the circle with her 
sweet breath fanning his neck. When his hand rose to her 
head or neck, she would lean into it and when there was none 
to hear, he talked to her softly. It was the filly's quick accep- 
tance of the boy that convinced Takeo and Kan he had the 
touch animals trust. As the two horsemen well knew, a man 
has such a hand at birth or he does not have it ... it cannot 
be learned or otherwise acquired. Though he knew her name 
was Yuen, a Japanese word for happiness or merriment, he 
called her Ah-Chim-Hai and she came to respond to it. When 
the two men learned of the boy's name for the filly, they too 
began to call her by Kim's name, though they later shortened 
it to Flame. 

Chung Soon was the only one in the family or the village 
who knew Kim's secret. One day she followed him to the 
stables and watched him walk through the area without re- 
straint while the grooms bowed respectfully as he passed. He 
entered a nearby house as though he lived inside and her eyes 
grew to the size of saucers when she saw him come out wear- 
ing boots, riding breeches, white shirt and a red silk cap. 
t i Chung Soon slipped away and returned home. Try as she 
might, she could not unravel the mystery. She knew of the 
bundle of wood he brought home each afternoon and of the 
increasing number of yen notes in the glass jar, but she could 
not guess at the reason for his good fortune. 

Spring passed and preparations were begun to ship Flame 


and five other horses to Japan. The remainder of the stable 
would stay behind in charge of the number one groom 
Hirata. The trip to Japan would extend into September and 
they would return in time for the November race meet in 
Seoul. Kan asked the Colonel to allow Kim to go along, but 
the master ruled against the idea because he thought the boy 
too young. 

While Kan and Takeo were gone, Kim was to come to the 
track each day. A servant would keep the house open and 
prepare food for him and he would continue to work with 
horses under the guidance of Hirata. 

Kim accepted the news but was torn at the thought of 
being away from his friends. He asked, "You will bring 
Flame back with you?" 

"Kim, my brother, do not pin your heart to a horse. Sadly, 
their lives are short. You will live longer than Flame or her 
colts or the foals of her colts." 

"Please bring Flame back," the boy whispered. 

"I will do all I can." 

In the rush of packing and getting the horses to Inchon 
Harbor, Kim missed a week of school. He saw Flame into her 
stall on deck and whispered his good-by while she nuzzled 
against him. The ship sailed with Kan and Takeo waving to 
him from the rail. The return to the track with Hirata was 
a silent, lonely journey. By the time he had changed clothes 
and ran the two miles to his home, the evening meal was over 
and his father was waiting for him. 

Father Kim sent the daughters outside and came directly to 
the point. 

"Schoolmaster Yu was to see me. He says you have not 
been to his classes; for six days. Is that true?" 

"Yes, Father." 

"What have you been doing?" 

Kim lowered his eyes and remained silent 


"Are you going to answer me?" 

"No, Honorable Father, I cannot tell you." Kim began to 

"The old lady at the five corners told me many things." 

Kim burned with a sense of guilt. Fie put his hand in his 
pocket and felt the forty yen Kan had given him. He wanted 
to give this to his father, but hesitated. If he did, he would 
have to tell his secret and that would end his; dream. 

Father Kim considered the refusal. He sensed something 
deep and close to his son's heart that was keeping him silent 
and he fought down the anger surging through him. Fie 
sighed deeply and the cool, damp air set him to coughing. 
When the spasm had passed he was weak and to cover his 
emotions, he filled his pipe slowly, thoughtfully. His next 
words came haltingly. 

"My son, I insist you go to Schoolmaster Yu because I do 
not want you to be a field worker like myself. If you learn 
your lessons well the Japanese will give you work in their 
government offices. Many invaders have come to the Land 
of Chosen and have been driven out. That will happen to the 
Japanese, too. We shall then need young men to govern our 
country. If you have prepared yourself, there will be a place 
for you when we are free again." 

"Yes, Father." 

"Do you say, 'Yes, Father,' because you believe my words, 
or because you'd like to end this talk?" 

Kim remained silent. 

Father Kim lighted his pipe with a coal from the stove. 

"To make up for the time you have lost, I have made ar- 
rangements with Professor Yu and you'll attend his classes 
morning and afternoon." 

It was nearly impossible for Kim to speak, but he managed 
to whisper, "Yes, Father." 

"Now you should eat." 


The next morning Chung Soon walked part way to school 
with Kim. She advised him, "Work hard, keep your eyes 
and ears open. Learn to make your figures quickly and soon 
you will be able to return to your horses." 

The following weeks were a fever to Earn. He grew to hate 
the old teacher and the long hours he was forced to spend in 
the classroom. Knowing he would not be released from his 
prison until he pleased the jailer he settled to his task. His 
desire to be free by the time Kan and Takeo returned made a 
starving animal of his brain and it gobbled voraciously at all 
placed before it. 

Only during the stillness of the night did he allow himself 
to think of Flame in far-off Japan. It was at night, too, that 
the tiger of worry clawed at him. What would Hirata think 
about his disappearance? The groom did not know where he 
lived and it would be impossible for him to come on a search. 
What would Kan think if he heard? These were the times 
when Kim's world began to crumble and he would cry out. 
Chung would hear and offer the comfort of her arm until he 

Kim grew thin and hollow-eyed with worry and the long 
hours he spent over his lessons. He was always hungry now 
that he was missing his second breakfast and ofttimes his 
mouth grew wet at the thought of the food awaiting him at 
the house by the track. 

Professor Yu sent for the father and reported remarkable 
progress. The teacher was more than pleased; he was enthusi- 
astic and volunteered a long-range plan for the boy. 

Kim would continue full time for another three years and 
then arrangements would be made to send him to a higher 
school conducted by a friend on the western side of Seoul 
Father Kim was elated by the praise and readily agreed. That 
evening he told the boy of his conversation with Yu and the 
plans that had been made. Kim felt like a trapped animal His 


hard work had only gotten him Into more trouble. If only 
Kan or Takeo were here, he would have the courage to tell 
his father. 

Kim continued the cross-village jaunt to teacher Yu's, but 
the incentive was gone. The better he did, the more likely it 
was that he would not see Flame again and the thought 
burned in his mind. Overnight his work at school fell to the 
low standards of the early summer. Professor Yu struggled 
with the taciturn youngster, but there was no response. For 
the most part, Kim sat in the classroom with his eyes hidden 
behind his dreams, or he spent long hours over the drawing 
of the skeleton of a horse, adding to it the muscles, tendons 
and vital organs as Takeo had taught him. 

So engrossed was he in this task one day that Yu came up 
behind him and observed the intricate but accurate drawing. 
He took it from the boy and after studying it carefully, cume 
to a decision. The following day he turned the school over 
to his assistant and took the train to Sebinggo Station where 
he walked the half mile to the cavalry barracks. The Japanese 
sentry at the gate was rude and would pay no heed to him 
until an officer came along. It was painful for the old scholar 
to be so subservient, buf to act otherwise would get him 
nothing but a hiding from the officer's riding crop. Finally 
he was admitted to see his old friend Chai Eyi Ja, who was 
second veterinarian for the Japanese cavalry unit stationed 
at the barracks. 

It was many years since Chai and Yu had seen one another 
and they were drinking their second cup of tea before the 
horse doctor was shown Kim's sketch. He studied it for some 
time before looking up from the paper. 

"This is an extraordinary piece of work. Who did It?" 

"A young student of mine, Kirn Huk Moon." 

"How old is he?" 

"Corning to nine in a month." 

Ja looked pained. "Impossible! Your young friend has 


cheated. He copied It from a book." Ja rose and slipping a 
heavy, black book from a shelf, opened it to the desired page 
and placed before Yu the engraved sketch of a horse's skele- 
ton. Gravely the schoolmaster compared one with the other 
as Ja peered over his shoulder. 

"Do you see what I mean, old friend? The boy has a talent 
for drawing and copied this horse from some book." 

Yu shook his head. "That could not be, respected friend. 
He made his drawing while in my school. No such book is 
available. No such picture of a horse is available in our vil- 
lage ... of that I am certain." 

"Somehow the boy has fooled you. Bring him to me and 
I will question him. We will have him draw another while I 
watch. If he can do this again, I will ask the Japanese cavalry 
commander to allow your young friend to become an ap- 
prentice here." 

Father Kim agreed to teacher Yu's plan of taking Kim to 
the cavalry barracks for an examination. The following day 
the two traveled to the military base. The horse doctor was 
waiting for them at the gate and, watching Kim closely, con- 
ducted a tour of the stable area. Kim grew excited. Never 
before had he seen so many horses and he recognized in- 
stantly these were a type different from his Flame horse. 
They were larger and bigger boned than the horses at the 
track, but he had to admit they were fine-looking animals. 

In yet another stable they came on a different type animal 
and Kim eyed them Intently. Doctor Ja gave the schoolmas- 
ter a covert glance. 

"These horses," he said, "are used to haul the provision 
wagons and cannon for the cavalry when they are on maneu- 

"These are not horses," Kim responded and was ashamed 
to have spoken so forthrightly. 

Ja appeared not to notice the rude contradiction. "What 
are they, little friend, if they are not horses?" 


"They are mules." 

The doctor's voice became low, Insistent, "What is the 
difference between a mule and a horse?" 

Yu appeared not to be interested, but his ear was bent to 
the answer. 

Kim realized he was getting into deep water and he was 
frightened of this horse doctor. This was the man who might 
drag his secret from him and his brain raced over the vast 
fields Takeo had covered with him. The answer struck him 
and he wanted to laugh, but restrained himself. 

"A mule is a horse with a sense of humor." 

Ja's eyelids fluttered in surprise and he looked at Yu and 
shrugged. For him this whole thing was becoming a waste 
of time. 

He said angrily, "We will go to my quarters." 

Once inside he made tea and when the cups had been 
filled, he placed a paper and brush on the table in front of 

"The Honorable Yu tells me your fingers are very nimble. 
Draw me a picture of a horse such as the one you drew in 
school the other day." 

Kim hid his eyes by sipping his tea and wished longingly 
that Kan and Takeo were with him. 

"You will draw a horse for me, like the one you drew at 
the school!" The voice was harsh. 

Kim began to tremble and the picture of the tattooed man 
flashed before his eyes. He looked at the schoolmaster and 
old Yu nodded in his gentle way and reached out to touch 
his hand. Kim sensed how much this meant to him; somehow 
it was important that he draw the picture of a horse. It would 
make teacher Yu happy and the horse doctor unhappy. 
Grimly, he picked up the brush. In a minute he was alone. 
All lie knew was the picture Takeo had etched on his mind's 
eye. Never had his fingers been more sure or his memory 
more accurate. He was sweating when it was completed and 


he handed it to the schoolmaster, but Ja grabbed it and his 
long-nailed finger pointed 

"What is that?" 


"And that?" 


"And that?" 


"And this and this and this?" The doctor's demands were 

"Pastern, quarter and crest." 

"Where did you learn all this?" 

Kim cast a pleading glance for help toward old Yu, but 
the man offered no relief. He dug his fingers into his legs 
and remained silent. 

Doctor Ja was angered by this insolence and the breath 
whistled from his nostrils. 

"I will take him as an apprentice-servant. That way I shall 
not have to go to the Japanese commander. I am allowed a 
servant." He turned hard eyes on Kim. "Before I teach you 
of horses, young friend, I will teach you manners!" 

The words numbed and Kim followed the two men blindly 
into the courtyard. He heard from a distance the instructions 
the doctor was giving old Yu. 

"Have his father bring him here on the seventh day to 
sign the papers. He will be in my charge for five years." 

They were nearing the gate when a large black automobile, 
flags flying from fender standards, swept inside. The doctor 
and Yu stiffened to attention and, with eyes to the ground, 
bowed low. The sentry lost his overbearing manner and be- 
came a cringing first-year soldier at present arms. An officer 
ran from the guardhouse with soldiers sprinting behind him. 
The soldiers formed three frozen lines and came to attention 
as the officer drew his sword and saluted. 

Kim's heart began to race. The man in the automobile was 


the Colonel! That must mean Kan and Takco and Flame 
were back from Japan. He saw the polished boots approach- 
ing. They came to a stop a few feet away. 

"Kan. is greatly worried about you, young friend. Fie has 
gone to your house to look for you. 77 

Kim raised his eyes. "He is back, Honorable Sir?" 

The Colonel nodded and smiled. "We arc off the ship just 
a few hours ago." 

"And my Flame?" 

"She misses you, she has not forgotten." The Colonel 
turned away and raised his voice, "Dismiss the guard." He 
climbed into the automobile and, as it moved away, he lifted 
his hand to Kim and the boy waved back. 

Ja grabbed the boy. "Where did you know the Colonel? 
How? When? Tell me! Quickly, my little friend, dear friend. 
Now we can make you the number one apprentice. You will 
live in my quarters as a son." 

Kim twisted away from the grasping hands and began to 
run. Fie didn't stop until he was at the railway station. 
Schoolmaster Yu arrived and they made a silent trip back to 
the village. Kim was waiting for the train to stop and ran 
from it toward his hutch. A long, gasping sigh passed his 
lips as he saw Kan and his father talking. 


JLATHER KIM was opposed to his son working for the Jap- 
anese horseman for several reasons. Such an apprenticeship 
meant the youngster would be in constant contact with Jap- 
anese and his education and life would be guided by them. 
To a simple laborer who feared and hated the invaders of his 
country, nothing good could come from such an arrange- 

Furthermore, he knew nothing of horses and horse rac- 
ing. It was a Japanese sport and few Koreans had the means 
to participate other than as onlookers, which was enough to 
condemn it. Also, it was impossible for Father Kim to believe 
Kan's interest in his son was sincere and motivated by affec- 

Kan, a proud man, thought it unnecessary to explain that 
Kim had saved his life. How could he tell this ignorant 
Korean field worker a miracle had happened and horse magic 
had been born in his son's hands? 

"I train horses for the commander of the Imperial Cavalry. 
It is he who has sent me to arrange that your son be an ap- 
prentice in his stables. He will be angry indeed that you have 



dishonored his name by not permitting your son to work 
for him/' 

Father Kim knew he was defeated. He said slowly, "My 
son may be an apprentice to you." He straightened his 
stooped shoulders. "But he should have time for school." 

"Yes, I agree. That is good. The boy must learn other 
things besides horses. You arrange for the school in the after- 
noons/' He took five notes from his pocket, each worth ten 
yen. He handed them to the father. "This is our binder. Your 
son will be assigned to me for five years." 

It was at this point Kim came rushing along the street. 
Breathless from running and speechless from excitement, he 
threw his arms about the rider while Father Kim stared in 
disbelief. Suddenly he realized his son had been meeting with 
this Japanese for a long time . . . that explained what the old 
woman had told him. He looked at the money in his hand and 
tossing the bills onto the road, went into the hutch. 

Kim and the rider were oblivious to all else. Kan said, 
"You are to be my apprentice for five years. In that time I 
shall be too old to ride and you can take my place while I 
take over from Takeo." 

"I will work hard, night and day," Kim promised. 

"And each afternoon you will go to school." 

Kim made a face. "Do I have to?" 

"I promised. Now I must return to the track. There is 
much to do. You come early in the morning." 

"Before the sun is up," Kim laughed. Kan stepped into the 
waiting rickshaw and the boy stood in the street until the 
vehicle turned the corner and was lost to view. As he turned 
to go into the house, he saw the yen bills fluttering on the 
roadside. They were a disquieting sight and he knew sonic 
terrible thing had happened. Gathering the bills together, the 
boy went slowly into the hut. His mother was busy at the 


stove and did not give him her usual quick smile and Father 
Kim sat before the stove smoking his bamboo-stemmed pipe. 

The next morning, without waiting for breakfast, Kim was 
on his way to the track. He raced past the shrill-voiced 
woman's hut, but so swiftly she failed to see him. Breathless 
and excited, he went directly to Flame's stall and she turned 
on his entrance and came to him. As he ran his hand along 
her neck she leaned against him and her velvet lips searched 
his hand for sugar. To Kim it was as though they had never 
been parted. 

Kim was warmly greeted by the servants as he changed 
clothing. Then he had breakfast with Kan and Takeo and it 
was so much like old times he had to blink his eyes to keep 
the tears from slipping down his cheeks. As they ate, the 
horseman told him the news of the trip to Japan. Flame had 
pined for him at first and for a time she went off her feed. 
Kim was happy to hear this, but he was skeptical until Takeo 
assured him it was true. Flame had raced three times and had 
won each race with ease. Kan and Takeo laughed when they 
told of the money they had won from betting. The other 
horses had done well and the trip was a grand success, but 
now there was much to do to get the horses fit again after 
their sea trip. * 

The happy days sped by for Kin and there was only one 
cloud of worry on the horizon; his father had not spoken to 
him since the day Kan called, and the evening meal was a 
cold and silent affair. 

One day many workers appeared at the track and the 
grounds were cleaned and the stands painted. Someone found 
the cache of paper and wood under the seats and it was 
cleaned out. This distressed Kim because he was still lugging 
a bundle home each afternoon on his way to school, but even 
this loss was forgotten in the excitement and tension of race 


Kan explained to Kim, "The Colonel is a wealthy man and 
money means little to him. His love is horses. Fie joined the 
cavalry where he could be with horses. That is why Takeo 
and I do all we can so his horses will win. His honor is our 

Kim became convinced the horses felt the same way as the 
men and even Flame changed in those last days. The boy 
thought he imagined it, but as the time grew short, he was 
certain. No longer was she the playful, teasing animal that 
made being around her such fun. Racing was serious business 
and she knew as well as the men who trained her that the 
days were few. 

In preparation for the meet, Kim informed schoolmaster 
Yu that he would be unable to attend school during this time 
and the old teacher accepted without objection. Since the day 
at the cavalry barracks he had held his horse-loving student 
in awe. 

Kan and Takeo explained betting to the boy and how the 
men with the chalk and giant blackboards reached the odds 
on a horse. The next morning Kim brought them the glass 
jar and they laughed when he asked them to bet the ninety- 
one yen fifty sen on Flame. They cautioned him that it was 
not wise to place all on one bet. There was talk of a fast horse 
from Pusan and even Flame could lose. Kim was adamant 
... all on his favorite. 

One morning it was as though flood gates had been opened 
and a torrent of people let loose. They packed the stands, the 
center-field area, and hung over the rails. Some had drunk too 
much sul and were boisterous and noisy as crowds gathered 
around the sweating men making figures on the blackboards. 
Kim resented the invasion of the quiet, idyllic life he had 
grown to love and it was evident that Takeo felt much the 
same way as he muttered, "Man takes a drink, the drink takes 
a drink, the drink takes the man." 

Then all was forgotten save the preparation, of their 


charges to run their best. There were to be four races in the 
morning and eight in the afternoon. The morning races were 
unimportant and none of the Colonel's stable raced in them. 
In the afternoon Flame was to run in the feature race, which 
was named in honor of the Japanese Governor-General. The 
purse was for a thousand yen and a large gold cup. 

As Kan explained to Kim, "The money is nothing, but the 
cup is important. We have won it twice; If we win it this 
time, the Colonel can keep it." 

Kim told his friend, "No horse can beat Flame." 

"You're wrong, little trainer. Loyalty is fine, but don't let 
it blind you. There are over a thousand ways for a horse to 
lose a race. That is why you will always find people who will 
bet on other horses, though Flame is a winner in Japan. That 
is why I am sweating on a cool day!" He smiled, "And now 
it is time we dress for the race." 

In the house Kim found a new outfit of clothing Kan and 
Takeo had bought for him in Tokyo. The shirt was of Rising 
Sun red with the Colonel's family crest in white on the back. 
The riding breeches were white and snug at the knees and 
the boots were black and shiny. Kan and Takeo were pleased 
with the boy's delight and the old trainer said, "One day I 
hope to give you a hand up on a horse I've trained." 

By the time Flame was to be led to the paddock for the 
parade and saddling, Kim's teeth were chattering. He pulled 
his long-visored cap low over his eyes, and taking the lead 
strap in hand he began to walk Flame along the outside rail 
of the track. The filly was restive, excited and small flecks of 
foam spattered from her mouth. Without looking at her, Kim 
was aware of the change. It came into his hands through the 
lead strap and was as definite as an electric impulse. 

The Colonel was waiting with a party of friends and Kim 
went directly to the group. The officer was pleased with 
Kim's new clothing and told the story of how he had saved 
Kan's life. The boy was embarrassed and relieved when 


Takeo motioned to begin walking Flame around the pad- 
dock. Then it was time for the saddling and Takeo lifted 
Kan up on the horse. 

The rider smiled down on them. "Do not worry too much, 
my friends, we will not disgrace you." 

Takeo and Kirn went to the place near the finish line re- 
served for trainers and grooms. The old trainer pointed out 
the merits and faults of the other five horses in the race. He 
dismissed three curtly. 

"Their owners have more money than sense. They are 
willing to pay for the honor of saying their horses ran in the 
Governor-General Cup Race." Takeo never took his eyes 
from the horses on the track as he talked. "They will also be 
invited to the exalted Governor's home for food and drink 
tonight. That is important to some people. We can only hope 
those three cart horses don't clutter the track and prevent an 
honest race." 

He directed Kim's attention to the chestnut horse leading 
the parade. "Look closely at the stallion from Pusan. He is all 
horse and will give Flame all the run she can handle, I fear. 
With him starting on the inside and our little one on the out- 
side, it may be too much for her. At sixteen hundred meters 
he will finish strong." 

"Do you really think she may lose, Honorable Takeo?" 

"But for Kan, I would sit this race out in the darkness of a 
stall. Watch him closely, Little One. He is part horse and his 
hands talk horse-talk. A horse will run faster than it can run, 
because of Kan. It is he who has made me the number one 

There was a hush in the crowd as the six horses formed a 
line abreast and walked toward the starting line. Flame was 
on the outside with the three cart horses inside and then came 
a fractious bay from Tacgu and the stallion from Pusan in the 
favored position. The walk-up was not orderly nor even and 
the starter sent them back for another try. Once more the six 


walked to the line. Just as they neared the tense moment of 
starting, the cart horse next to Flame reared and swung its 
hindquarters in her direction. Fearful of a kick, Kan spun his 
mount away. At that moment the starter shouted, "Go!" 

The crowd roared in dismay and old Takeo beat his hands 
on the railing. "The man is blind! A blind fool, he is!" 

Kim wanted to throw himself to the ground and hide his 
eyes and close his ears. Yet he could do neither as his eyes 
glued themselves to the horses speeding down the track. Head 
and head and running at a terrific pace were the Pusan stal- 
lion and the Taegu gelding. Strung behind them loosely like 
badly strung pearls were the three cart horses and far behind 
came Flame with Kan nestled over her neck. 

"Ten lengths behind. It is too much!" Takeo muttered and 
Kim threw him a shocked glance. When the boy looked 
back to the race the horses were entering the first turn and 
Flame had ranged alongside the rearmost cart horse. Slowly, 
slowly, foot by foot, she edged by and gained on the next in 
line. Around the turn and into the back stretch the two 
leaders sped as though death was at their heels with Pusan 
holding a lead of inches on Taegu. 

At the eight hundred meter pole Flame was by the second 
cart horse and at the withers of the third. There was open 
daylight of sixty feet between her and the two leaders. Takeo 
took in the situation at a glance and looked to the instruction 
of his pupil- 

"The Taegu horse is not bred for such a pace. He will 
begin to quit on the far turn. This Kan knows, but to save 
ground he must come through on the inside. And then the 
race rests in his hands and Flame's heart . . ." 

To keep his teeth from chattering, Kim clenched them and 
spoke through taut lips, "Is there a chance?" 

Takeo squinted and his face lightened as he saw something 
that pleased him. Over the bedlam of the crowd he shouted 
in Kim's ear, "There is one, if Kan sees" 


As though he had used a divining rod, Takeo's prophecy 
came true and the Taegu horse wilted suddenly; spirit, 
strength and heart left it at the same time. Flame was past the 
last cart horse and slipping up on the inside of the faltering 
Taegu. In a breathless instant she was by this threat and 
creeping in on the flying Pusan. The crowd let out a full- 
throated roar as the daylight between the two shrank to less 
than thirty feet. 

The stallion raced into the final turn with Flame closing 
on his heels. The rider cast a hurried glance over his shoulder 
and, seeing Kan bearing down on him, began to whip his 
mount. The chestnut came around the last turn with the 
rider's arm flailing and slowly a handbreadth of distance 
showed between the stallion and the inside rail Then it was 
three, then four and five hands as he bore out; then Flame 
was in that space and running hard. Kim gasped as he saw 
her head-on; he could hardly recognize his playful, gentle 
stable pet. This was a diff erent animal, with eyes burning and 
every muscle and tendon strained to outrace the horse at 
her side, 

Takeo shouted in his ear, "It is all over, Little One. Go to 
the winner's circle!" 

A hundred meters from the finish Flame was in the lead by 
half the length of her neck and Kan's splendid hands gave her 
the strength to hold her advantage. On legs weak as bamboo 
sprouts, Kim ran along the track to meet them as the filly 
came back at a rocking horse gallop, her head nodding to the 
thunderous plaudits of the crowd. When she came to Kim 
she forgot her vanity and rubbed her sweat-wet head against 
him and he told her she had done well Kan leaned over and 
laughed, "Remember! I told you there are a thousand ways 
to lose a race." 

Takeo was waiting for them at the winner's circle and for 
a moment only the four of them were together. The rider 


laughed and winked and Takeo nodded and between them 
Kim sensed a secret. 

The presentation of the Governor-General's Cup was a 
tiresome, wordy affair and Takeo fretted that Flame would 
take a chill before a blanket could be placed on her. Finally 
it was over and Kim led her back to the stable and all along 
the way people shouted and cheered. 

It was always a joy to walk Flame in the cooling circle, 
but today it was pure ecstasy. After she was cool he loitered 
over the rubbing of her legs and as her racing fever subsided 
she became the pet he knew best. 

Hirata came from the betting ring with the winnings and 
Kim stared at the two hundred ten yen that was his share. 
Kan asked him, "What are you going to do with so much 
money? Bet it on other races and bankrupt the moneyman?" 

Kim shook his head, "I'll not bet again. I might lose and if 
I did, I'd never be able to buy my dream." 

"What do you dream, little Kim Huk Moon?*' 

"Of owning Flame" 

The rider stilled his impulse to laugh and said soberly, "It 
is a good dream." 

Over late afternoon tea Kim learned the secret between his 
two friends. The telling of it added another upright to his 
storehouse of knowledge of horses and racing. 

Old Takeo said, "Remember when I told you there was 
one chance for Kan and Flame?" 

The boy nodded. 

"It was then I noticed the Pusan horse was leading with his 
right front leg. If he went into the last turn without chang- 
ing leads, he would bear out and leave an opening for Kan." 
Kan leaned forward, his eyes lively with good humor. "That 
is why I stayed on the rail. Flame had not enough strength 
left to go around and win. When Yang began to whip with 
his right hand, I knew the right lead and whip would drive 
the horse away from the rail enough for us to get through." 


Kim was dismayed. How could he ever learn all there was 
to know about horses and racing? He stayed late that night 
listening to the men talk. The excitement of the race loosened 
their tongues and story after story came his way. It was dark 
when he stopped by Flame's stall and she turned eagerly and 
nickered on his entrance. The nervousness of racing was gone 
entirely and she began nibbling at his pocket for sugar. 

On the road for home Earn broke into his easy swinging 
dogtrot. There was no moon and his pace quickened as he 
neared the spot where he had been accosted by the tattooed 
man. He welcomed the sprinkling of huts at the edge of the 
village and slackened his pace to a fast walk because of the 
Japanese police. 

"And now you prowl at night, Kim Huk Moon!" the 
shrill voice shrieked and Kim nearly jumped from his rubber 
shoes in surprise. Did the old woman never sleep? He ducked 
into an alley to avoid any police alerted by her yelping. He 
was wet from sweat and panting when he stepped from his 
shoes and crept into his hutch. Scarcely breathing, he made 
his way into the backyard and bathed at the earthen bowl, 
knowing it had been left full for him by Chung Soon. He 
dried himself and, retrieving the money from his clothes, 
crept onto the sleeping pad. He was so tired even the bones 
in his legs felt limp. Tucking the money under the sleeping 
pad, he yawned widely and was asleep. 

It was late fall when the race meet was over and the Colo- 
nel's stable moved to the cavalry barracks where Kim was to 
learn the training of cavalry horses in jumping, movement in 
formation and facing up to cross-country obstacles* As the 
weeks slipped into months and winter passed, there was no 
worry in his life save the strain when he was with his father. 
Since the day Kan had come to the hutch, Father Kim had 
not spoken to the boy and Mother Kim suffered for him, but 
could understand her husband and his hurt. When Father 
Kim was taken to bed with a severe cold and there was no 


money coming in from the fields, Kim emptied the glass jar 
into his mother's hands. She used of it sparingly and told her 
husband the money came from what she had hoarded. He did 
not believe her, but was too ill to protest. After three weeks 
he returned to the fields, more gaunt and bent than ever. 

The following spring Takeo gave Kim a hand-up to his 
first horse and he started riding lessons under Kan's critical 
eye. Weeks later, he rode Flame on a gallop around the track 
and felt he had reached a crest in his life that would not be 
surpassed. After a time, he became exercise boy to the num- 
ber two horses trained for sale. 

The trip to Japan that summer showed Kirn sights his wild- 
est dreams could not match. He bought presents for the 
family at the huge stores in Tokyo and when he returned 
home he no longer changed into his ragged clothing. When 
he arrived at the mud and wattle hutch Nam Soon was home 
alone, Chung Soon now being old enough to work in the 
fields. She was delighted with the dress goods he brought her 
and promised to have the most beautiful dress in the village. 
Kim felt it might be easier for his father to accept presents if 
he were not in the house when they came in from the fields. 
So he left Nam Soon measuring and planning her dress and 
walked slowly along the road toward the five street inter- 
section to deliver his present to Schoolmaster Yu. 

The Japanese officer eyed him suspiciously and shouted, 
"Come here, you!" The black, polished stick hanging from 
his wrist looked ugly and menacing. 

"Who are you?" 

"Kim Huk Moon." 

"What have you in your hand?" 

"A present for a friend." 

The policeman tore it from Kim's hand and ripped the 
paper from the tin of Japanese tea. 

"Where did you steal this?" 

"I bought it in Japan." 


"In Japan! You are a liar as well as a thief." He slapped 
Kim across the mouth. "Come." Grasping the boy by the 
collar and shouting at the crowd to disperse, the officer marched 
his prisoner across the street and into the police station. 

"I have a thief," he announced grandly to the sergeant. 
"He has a pound tin of tea he says he bought in Japan." 

Kim looked at the senior officer and said, "I am Kim Huk 
Moon, apprentice horseman. I live at the cavalry barracks 
with tie great rider Kan and the number one trainer Takeo. 
We have just returned from racing in Japan where I bought 
the tea." 

The hand on Kim's collar went limp and fell away. The 
sergeant glared at the first-year policeman. "Give the boy his 
tea." The sergeant drew in a deep breath between his teeth 
and his round, moon face creased into a forced smile. "An 
unfortunate mistake. Please pay my respects to your Hon- 
orable Colonel and tell him we consider you the most hon- 
ored Korean in our village." 

For two squares down the street Kim could hear the ser- 
geant shouting at the dejected first-year policeman. He bowed 
low to the old woman who did not recognize him in his new 
clothes. She stared and stared and he was half a square away 
before it came to her who had passed by her door. She was 
too dumbfounded to find voice and sat brooding in silence. 

At the school he found the old teacher with his back to 
the west so as to catch the last rays of warmth from the set- 
ting run. He turned his faded eyes from the Han River and 
spoke a warm greeting as Kim held out the tin of tea. The old 
man took it and read the characters with care. 

He said, "I know nothing of the life of men who race 
horses. It seems a futile, worthless existence. Are you satisfied 
with your choice?" f 

"Oh, yes, yes, Honorable Yu! I want nothing else but to 
live with my horse." 

"There is so little happiness in this Land of Chosen I can- 
not condemn you for a wastrel life with the Japanese." 


Kim looked at the ground. "Will yon speak to my Hon- 
orable Father? He has said no word to me since I became an 

"Counsel makers between father and son are repulsed like 
iron on iron. It is for you to find a way back into his heart. 
Remember, they killed his father . . . your grandfather." 

Kim turned sadly away. A short distance down the path- 
way Yu's voice halted him. "You have a good heart, little 
Kim Huk Moon, and your present has brought joy to an 
old man." 

It was dark when Kim entered his home. The aroma of 
Japanese tea mixed with that of tobacco told him his father 
had accepted the presents. His mother and Chung Soon 
greeted him with warm, happy arms and there was unre- 
strained chattering over the gifts he had brought them. Al- 
though Father Kin did not speak, there was a new warmth 
to his eyes as he gazed on his son. 

The wheel of time spun slowly. There were more race 
meets and more traveling. At the request of the Governor- 
General, Flame was taken to the races at Pusan and Taegu. 
The other horses under the charge of Kan and Takeo were 
tried and those found wanting were sold. The better ones 
were saved and shipped to Japan for breeding while Flame 
stayed on because she was the favorite of all. Now that Kim 
was more skilled and experienced in riding, he exercised her 
every morning and the attachment and understanding be- 
tween the two deepened until it became a mysterious, psychic 
element transcending human or animal links. The old trainer 
and Kan had watched this strange growth from the first day 
the boy had touched the little mare. They could not explain 
it, but they knew such things happened and did not question 
or hinder. 

They still talked of the winter's night when they were in 
quarters at the cavalry barracks seated around the charcoal 
brazier- Kan was mending a saddle, Takeo was smoking and 


dreaming and Kim was making good his promise to study 
characters an hour each day. The boy's head had jerked up 
and his eyes carried a startled, fearful expression. He jumped 
to his feet and ran to the door. 

"Flame needs me/' he said as he raced away in the dark- 
ness. They followed close behind and in the large box stall 
they found the white-stockinged mare cast in a position that 
would have done injury to her had she struggled. 

One day Kan and Takeo asked the boy to join them in 
their room overlooking the barracks stables. Both were seri- 
ous and more formal than usual. 

Kan spoke, "Little brother, your apprenticeship is over. 
This is your birthday. Five years ago this day you saved my 
life. What is your wish? Do you want us to find a place for 
you in another stable?" 

"Oh, no, Kan, no!" Kim cried. "I never want to leave you 
and Takeo. I would die to leave Flame. Let me stay, let noth- 
ing change." 

Old Takeo shook his head. He was feeling his age this day 
and was more weary than usual. "We will do what we can 
for you, little friend, but life is constant change and nothing 
remains still." 

Kan placed his hand on the boy's shoulder. "We have 
spoken to the Colonel. You will become number two trainer 
in the stable. You will ride second horses in the morning 


"In Japan, too?" Earn asked. 

Kan sobered. "I don't know. A war has started in Europe. 
We may not go to Japan until it is over." 

Takeo spoke slowly. "Wars are like glanders in a stable. 
They spread slowly and kill many; there is no explaining 
them. Life is uncertain in peacetime, but in wartime, never 
look beyond the next minute." 


JLAKEO BECAME ILL during the winter. He was put to bed in 
the barracks infirmary, but he grew worse and the Colonel 
ordered him taken to the Medical College Hospital. He drove 
to the place to see that the old man was properly quartered 
and the doctors made aware of his importance. Kan and Kim 
made the trip with their friend and saw him safely to bed. 

On the way back Kan told the boy, "If there is racing next 
season, you will do most of the riding. It is time I climbed 
down from the saddle." 

"Don't you think Takeo will get well?" 

"He is an old man. This illness will make him older. When 
he is well enough to leave the hospital he will be sent back to 
Japan to retire. Then it will be you and I to take care of the 

After many weeks, Takeo was released from the hospital. 
The rider and Kim went for him and helped pack his few be- 
longings and walked down the long corridors that were en- 
veloped in the odor of medicine. The boy was distressed by 
the change in his friend. It was as though all the years had 
rolled up and struck him a mighty blow on the shoulders. 


In the Colonel's black military automobile they drove the 
convalescent to the barracks where he spent the night with 
them. In the morning he made the rounds of the stable and 
said good-by to the grooms and horses. In Flame's stall he 
broke down and cried and hid his face in her mane. 

Later they saw him to his cabin aboard the ship at Inchon. 
From somewhere he drew on a secret supply of strength and 
squared his shoulders. 

"I will meet you in Japan soon and we will race together 
once more, the three of us. We were a great team. We filled 
the Colonel's trophy case with cups. We will do it again." 

Kim wanted to cry as he held the old man close and felt 
the sharp bones and smelled the age of him. The rider was 
equally disturbed and the automobile was on the outskirts of 
Sosa before either found words. 

Kim spoke first, "Being at home with his family will do 
him good. Maybe he will get strong enough to work again?" 

Kan shook his head. "The days of his years are numbered. 
All we can do is pray they will be easy ones." 

"And you will be number one trainer and rider." 

"You will be number one rider." At the boy's startled ex- 
pression Kan hurried on, "I have spoken to the Colonel. I am 
too old to ride." 

"But you are not old," Kim protested. 

Kan agreed smilingly, "As a man, that is true. As a rider, it 
is not. With horses you have always been old beyond your 
years. You are fourteen, you will be the number one rider." 

"And I will ride Flame in a race!" Kim cried. 

"You will ride Flame in her last race . . . this is her last sea- 
son. If she were not such a great one and a favorite of all, she 
would even now be on the big place in Japan raising colts for 
us to train and race." 

Kim dug his toes into the rich nap of the carpeting in the 
automobile. When she retired someone else would be caring 


for her; he might never see her again. He whispered, "Since 
the first day I saw her Fve dreamed of owning her." 

"I know. Your heart is in your eyes." Then, softly, "It can 
never be, number one, so don't build your castles. The Colo- 
nel would not sell her for all the gold in the Imperial 

Since the completion of his apprenticeship, it was Kim's 
custom to spend one night a week with his family. He would 
take the train from Sebinggo Station to the village, where it 
was a fifteen minute walk to his home. Along the way he saw 
many old friends and reminders of the days he ran the dusty 
streets . . . even the old woman, looking like a mummy in 
rags, still shrilled at him though her voice did not carry as it 
once did. The first-year policeman at the five-street intersec- 
tion was now a veteran policeman who glared in remem- 
brance of the day he lost face. 

Nam Soon had married and was living with her husband in 
the village of Kumho-Dong. Her man was a worker for a silk 
manufacturer and spent his days tending the vast fields of 
mulberry. Chung Soon, though older than her sister, had 
shunned marriage and it was a sore point with her parents. 

With each visit, Kim was shocked by the hunched, sickly 
look of his father, whose cough was worse . * . after a bad 
spell he hid the cloth that had been to his lips. Chung Soon 
confirmed what he suspected. The father's health was such 
that he was now missing two days work in seven, but, even 
worse, Mother Kim had begun to cough. 

"What can I do?" Kim asked. "I have more than five hun- 
dred yen in the Bank of Chosen." 

Chung shook her head sadly. "Father accepts your food 
because a hungry stomach knows no pride, but he would not 
accept your help to a Japanese hospital." 

"The second doctor at the barracks is a Korean. I will ask 
him to come to see Father." 


Dr. Yik made the trip to the village and when he returned, 
his expression was grave. 

"Your father has tuberculosis in the advanced stage." 

"And my mother?" 

"She is a more recent victim." 

"What can I do?" 

"Nothing," Dr. Yik said bitterly. "The disease is the curse 
of our land. Overwork, too little rice and cold, drafty houses 
will, in time, destroy our people. All you can do is make their 
lives easier while they live. I will give you a medicine that 
will ease the coughing and induce sleep." 

Kim took the medicine to his home the next day and for 
the first time in six years spoke directly to his father and 
urged him to stop work and sit in the sun and rest. The old 
man heard him out and, turning on his heel, left the room. 
Kim knew he was defeated; he left the medicine with Chung 
Soon and returned to the barracks. 

Kim lost himself in his work. Each day there were ten 
horses to exercise and his body grew lean and tough and his 
mind alert and senses tuned to the spirit of the animal be- 
tween his knees. With all horses he instinctively sensed their 
vagaries, but with Flame there was more ... it was as though 
they spoke a language unknown to others. 

Kan watched the boy develop into an excellent rider and 
once a month the two wrote Takeo a long letter. As Kan 
said, "This contact will keep his heart alive." 

As the time grew near for the race meet, Kim felt wires of 
tension tiirning tighter and tighter inside himself. No longer 
did he sleep the calm, dreamless sleep of the unworried as 
night after night he awakened to find himself sitting stiffly 
upright and sweating. Flame had fallen and broken a leg; 
Flame had been crowded into the rail and a shaft of wood 
had run her through; Flame had been crippled by a kicking 
stallion. Each time the dream was different, but each was 
tragic, each ended with a pistol shot in her brain. 


Kan sensed the disquiet in the boy and saw it in the pale, 
taut face and a doubt flickered through him. Was it possible 
there was a flaw and the boy could not face up to racing 
competition? Was he a morning rider, an exercise boy only? 

Kan watched in silence and when he handed the boy into 
the saddle for a second-class morning race, he covered his 
misgivings with a confident smile. 

"Make your first race a winning one." 

Kim's horse was to start in the middle of a large field of 
nine. It was for horses who had never won five races and no 
whips or spurs were allowed. Most of the horses were young, 
frisky and not well trained, making the minutes at the starting 
line a jostling, bucking turmoil. At the starter's shout the 
pack broke in a melee. There were horses on Kim's right and 
left and there were horses in front of him and others running 
up on his heels. He held his position coolly and when day- 
light showed between the horses ahead of him, he steered his 
mount into it. Then he was through and clear save for the 
two horses running as a team ahead of him. 

His hands told him his horse was running at its limit and he 
eased it back. Riding easily and nursing his horse along the 
rail, Kim followed three lengths behind the pair in front. His 
horse had only one short burst of speed left and he waited for 
the moment to use it. Patiently he followed the length of the 
backstretch into the far turn. As the leaders swung into the 
long drive for home a breath of light shone on the rail and 
Kim threw his mount into it. His right foot hit the rail and 
his left knee cracked that of his rival, but he slipped through. 

There were still two hundred meters to run when he had 
gained the lead by a long neck, but his mount was done. In 
his hands and knees Kim felt the flagging strength of the 
horse and to give it new heart and confidence, he eased it 
back a touch. Inch by inch the other horse gained until they 
were as even as horses in tandem could be. Kirn waited until 


they were twenty meters from the finish when he gently, 
surely mustered his horse for a final effort. 

"Now!" he yelled and the horse responded. Kim rose in 
the stirrups and eased his mount. He knew he had won by 
a nose. 

At the winners' circle Kan was waiting and as he gave Kim 
a hand down he whispered, "You'll make an old man of me." 

Though Kim rode three other races, he was in a state of 
funk by the time it came to ride Flame in the feature race. 
His face was pale, his hands shook and sweat streamed from 
every pore. 

"Axe you sick?" Kan asked sharply, 


"Are you afraid?" 

"Yes," Kim whispered. He saw the expression on Kan's 
face and knew his friend had misunderstood. "Not for my- 
self, but I'm afraid for Flame. Night after night I have 
dreamed that she has been hurt, that we have had to shoot 
her. I don't want her to race." 

Kan guided him into Flame's stall. "Look at her," he di- 
rected. "She was bred for racing, it is her life. If she is to get 
hurt, she will accept the bullet as a man of honor accepts the 
harakiri blade. Flame loves two things, you and racing. And 
on race day she loves racing more than she does you." Kan 
stroked her neck. "She will need your help to carry the hun- 
dred fifty-nine pounds they've loaded on her. One day they 
break her heart with iron." 

In the paddock Kim took a hand-up from Kan and as he 
settled in the saddle Flame headed for the track. As though 
in a fog the boy went through the parade before the stands 
and the walk-up to the starting line. The, little red rnare kept 
her position so that none gained an advantage; no horse could 
crowd her and prove a hamper, and all the time she awaited 
the shout of the starter. When it came she was away like a 


shot and In less than a hundred meters she was clear of the 
pack and ranged alongside the horse on the rail. Stride for 
stride, the two raced into the turn and on around. The ex- 
citement of the race caught Kim and he forgot his fears. He 
exulted in the confidence and speed of the little horse under 
him, yet the horse on the rail clung to its lead of a neck and 
matched Flame, stride for stride. In this fashion they sped the 
length of the long sweep of backstretch and into the turn for 
the finish line. 

Kim felt Flame begin to gather for the long run home. She 
moved up on her rival and was in the lead by the length of 
her neck when she seemed to hang in midstride. Flutterings of 
anxiety came along the reins and into Kim's hands as she 
frantically called on him for help. Kim looked down and 
back to see the rival rider, crouching low, hanging onto 
Flame's saddle cloth. Kim lashed out with his whip, striking 
the fellow's wrist a cutting blow and Flame shot into the lead. 

The crowd roared as their favorite sped under the wire 
fifty meters in the lead. Flame came back to the winner's cir- 
cle in her arched-neck, rocking horse gallop and tossing her 
head to the cheering people. All the way back to the stable 
she tossed her head and minced along on primping steps until 
Kim laughed at her vanity. 

"I was a help to you," he told her. "You didn't win it all by 
yourself, you know." 

One night, not long after, a soldier-orderly awakened Kan 
at midnight and told him he was wanted by the Colonel. Kan 
dressed hurriedly and left. When he' returned he sat on a 
folded blanket beside Kim's sleeping pad. 

"War has started between Japan and the United States. Al- 
ready there has been a big battle and we have won." 

Kirn held his breath as he tried to imagine what a battle was 
like. He had seen the cavalry in their parade ground exer- 
cises and supposed it was like these maneuvers. 


He asked, "What will happen to the Colonel?" 

"He leaves tomorrow. He will take an airplane from Kimpo 
and I go with him." 

Kim tried not to let Kan hear the heavy sigh, "Let me go 
with you?" 

Kan took his hand. "No, Little One. Overnight you are to 
become the Big One. All the cavalry horses will soon be 
shipped to Japan. Until arrangements can be made to ship 
Flame and the others to Japan, you'll take them to the track 
stables and care for them until word comes. Hirata will be in- 
structed that you are the number one." 

"What will you do?" 

"Fight for the Emperor, of course. If we all fight with the 
spirit of the Yamato race, no one can resist us. I have often 
thought that flying an airplane must be like riding a horse 
over the jumps. The Colonel will arrange that I go into train- 
ing to become a war flyer." He smiled, "I will take a flying 
machine jumping over the clouds rather than a horse over 
the ground." 

Kim saw his friends off from the Kimpo Airport. It was a 
sad parting and he stood on the flight apron for a long time 
after the plane was out of sight. Throughout the long ride 
from Kiinpo, through Yongdongpo and across the Han River 
he sat in the black military automobile staring from the win- 
dow without seeing a thing along the way. At the track he 
went to Flame's stall, put his arm around her neck and 
pressed his face into her mane. 

The days and weeks rolled by with little change. The 
horses were exercised, cared for and put back into their stalls. 
The government announced there would be no more racing 
until the war was over, and the other horses housed at the 
track were taken away until only the Colonel's ten remained. 

The coming of the war had made other changes which 
Earn noted. The people in the fields worked longer hours and 


fewer gasoline driven vehicles were seen on the road to 
Yongdongpo and Inchon, After a time, some of the trucks 
reappeared with huge, smoke-belching tanks on the rear and 
Hirata explained that the machines now ran on charcoal. 

Kim and his group were left alone and there was no cur- 
tailment of rice and other foods for them, but as increasing 
quantities of rice were shipped to Japan, there was less and 
less for Koreans. Chung Soon told Kim about the strict ra- 
tioning and he increased the amount he took the family on his 
weekly visits. 

After a long time, a letter arrived from Kan stating he was 
happy with flying and was now taking his plane up alone. He 
sent along a snapshot, which didn't look at all like the man 
Kim remembered. The letter also told him Takeo was still 
hanging onto life and that the Colonel was out of the country 
fighting for the Emperor. 

Each night Kim would read the Korean Times along with 
Hirata and the other grooms . . . there was nothing but vic- 
tory for the imperial forces of the Emperor. At each reading 
the Japanese would grow excited and shout, "Genno Heika, 
Banzai!" Kim wondered what had happened to the plan of 
shipping the horses to Japan. 

One night he went home to find his mother completely un- 
nerved and wailing; Father Kim had been drafted by the po- 
lice and shipped away to work on a dam in the Hwachon 
area. The village was to supply one hundred men for the 
project and Father Kim's name had been drawn by lot from 
the files at the police station. That he was a sick man and no 
longer capable of hard work had not the slightest affect on 
the police sergeant. The police had arrived in the middle of 
the night and before daylight the enforced laborers were 
aboard a train and jolting northward. 

Kim went to the police station, but knew it was hopeless 
when he saw that the man in charge was the Japanese who 


had been reprimanded for falsely accusing him of theft. His 
hard eyes studied Kim. 

"And what are you doing to help the war effort?" he asked 
as his dirty fingers ruffled through a file of papers and came 
out with one bearing Kim's name. 

"I work for His Excellency the Colonel, as I always have." 

"We will see, we will see," the policeman said. He took his 
brush and wrote on the card. "Now, get out of here. You 
waste my time." 

Kim did his best to console his mother before taking the 
train to the cavalry barracks station where he would appeal 
to one of the officers who knew him. This proved a fruitless 
trip for there had been a complete change-over in personnel 
and he could not even gain entrance to the grounds. Upon 
his return to the track he found the horses and stablemen 
being mustered by a Japanese in army uniform with a long 
sword clattering at his heels. 

Kim bowed low before the man. "I am Kim Huk Moon, 
number one rider for His Excellency the Colonel. These 
horses were left in my charge, Honorable Sir. May I ask what 
you propose to do with them?" 

The officer looked at Hirata. "Does this Korean speak the 

"Yes, Honored One. Trainer Kim is much esteemed by our 
most worthy Colonel." 

The officer ignored Kim and spoke to Hirata, "You wiU 
take your horses to the farms south of Inchon. You and the 
animals will work the fields and haul rice to the ships in 
Inchon harbor." 

To Kim the proposal was so utterly without reason it took 
some time before it penetrated. He thought of Kan and the 
Colonel and what they would say when they learned Flame 
and the others were cart horses. A groan escaped him at the 
thought of Flame hauling heavy loads over the rough roads. 

"His Excellency, the Colonel, ordered me to keep his 


horses here until he sent for them. We are to go to Japan 
soon. Therefore, Most Worthy One, 1 cannot do what you 

The officer's face went red and his hand flashed out to 
strike the boy across the mouth. "Keep your insolent words to 
yourself." He turned to Hirata. "What is your name?" 

"Jiro Hirata, sir." 

"You will be in charge. Put this Korean dog to work as a 
servant." Hirata bowed and the Japanese officer struck a pose. 
"Our enemies, the Yankee big noses, are strong. All must 
work to bring victory to the Emperor." He was being car- 
ried away by his own oratory . . . "Face the east. You too, 
Korean dog! Worship the Imperial Palace! The supreme sa- 
lute!" They bowed in silence. 

After the time of reverence had been observed, the man 
spoke again, "It is the will of his Excellency, the Governor- 
General, that these horses work for the Emperor." He strode 
away with the sword scabbard fingering a thin line in the 
dust. As though he had forgotten until this moment, he 
turned and there was a cruel smile on his lips. 

"Your Colonel is dead. He fought weH and died for the 
Emperor. He fell like a cherry blossom." 

Kim was awakened from his shock by Hirata ordering, 
"Put the horses back into their stalls. We will depart at first 
light in the morning. Be packed and ready." 

The boy looked at the groom. Hirata met his gaze and his 
eyes were unfriendly. 

"I am in charge now. The officer said so. I will move into 
the house and you will move into the stable. You will care 
for" He was on the point of assigning the mare to another 
when he thought better of it, "You will care for Flame." And 
then, to impress the others, "I will be watching to see that 
you do it right." 

Kim bundled his riding clothes together and took them 
home, explaining to Chung Soon and his mother that he 


would be unable to see them as often as he had before. There 
had been no word from Father Kim since his departure for 
Hwachon. Schoolmaster Yu had sent off a letter of inquiry 
to a former student who was working as a draftsman on the 
project. Mail between Koreans was slow and indifferent. It 
might be weeks or never. He left money and promised to 
return when possible. 

Kim was surprised but not too disappointed over the 
change in Hirata. All would be corrected when the war 
ended and Kan returned and he resolved not to get into trou- 
ble with the groom. As long as he could be with Flame, little 
else mattered. 

The journey to the south was begun before daylight and it 
was slow going. The grooms were clumsy in affixing the 
packs of personal belongings to the horses, and the animals 
were restive under the strangeness of this new activity. 
Flame's vanity suffered a cruel blow and she reached an emo- 
tional point where she would have bucked her way from 
under her undignified load had Kim not soft-talked her into 
being good. It was a sad day for the grooms and the horses to 
leave the track and the scene of so many triumphs. Even 
Hirata, who had garnered himself a long walking stick as a 
symbol of his new authority, felt it. 

The cavalcade went south. As they passed the commercial 
school the students who were in the yard washing their rice 
bowls, stared at them. Farther along the way the chemical 
plant was spewing out a stench-heavy white smoke and the 
horses snuffled and the grooms breathed through nose rags. 
At the gate leading into the cavalry barracks the horses 
strained against lead ropes and were further disheartened 
when forced to go on. 

While they all waited for the ferry at the Sobinggo cross- 
ing, Kin went to a nearby shrine. He gave the Buddhist monk 
fifty sen and wrote a prayer for the Colonel and fastened it 
to the prayer wheel. With Flame standing beside him, he 


knelt and prayed for his father's health and safe return. The 
shouts of Hkata and the others intruded upon the quiet of the 
morning and he and the mare hurried back to the ferry. 

All through the day they walked along the dusty roads to 
the south and it was dark when they reached their destina- 
tion. They were shown a small hutch in which to sleep, but 
there were no stables for the horses. Grumbling and stum- 
bling about in the darkness, the horses were off-loaded and 
the packs opened. Kim gave Flame an extra portion of barley 
and rubbed her down thoroughly. She was through eating 
before he was satisfied with her condition. Blanketing her, he 
led her into a vacant end of the hut. 

The others had built a fire in the stove and were drinking 
tea while waiting for their rice to cook. Hkata watched the 
boy clear a space for Flame, his face screwed into a look of 

"Put her outside with the rest.'* 

Kim chose his words carefully. "As long as there is room, 
Flame should be inside. We must keep her in good health and 
condition for our Honorable Kan. It is the least we can do for 
our friend." Then he added with emphasis, "When I rode to 
the flying field with his Excellency the Colonel and the Hon- 
orable Kan, the last words they spoke were of Flame's wel- 

All were impressed and Hkata was forced to agree. 

In the morning they discovered thek hutch was near a high 
enclosure of barbed wke. Inside the wke compound were 
many men, giants of men. A Japanese official told them they 
were American prisoners . . . big noses from America who 
had been defeated and captured by the victorious soldiers of 
the Emperor. 

"Big noses have no honor," he told them. "They allow 
themselves to be captured. They know nothing of the soul of 
the soldier." 


The rules of conduct and their duties were kid down. 
Japanese soldiers would guard and control the prisoners both 
inside the wire compound and while working the fields. 
Hirata and his group would take instructions from the super- 
visor of the farms and haul rice and other farm produce to 
Inchon for shipment overseas. Stern measures would be taken 
with anyone fraternizing with the prisoners. 

Flame accepted the harness and shafts of the cart with res- 
ignation. Kim tried to explain matters to her, but was sure her 
expression was one of reproach and disgust. In the fields he 
came close to the white foreigners and it was plain to see why 
they were called big noses. Kim marveled at the size of them 
... tall and straight like bamboo, but they all looked alike. 
There was one, however, he could distinguish from the others 
because his hair was so yellow, his eyes so blue. 

The blond's appraisal of Flame was experienced and ad- 

"That's quite a horse you've got there, Buster." 

Bam had never heard such a soft, drawling voice. It made 
him think of slow water over a gentle spillway. He wished he 
understood the words. The prisoner put his hand on Flame's 
neck and she leaned into it. For Flame to react in such man- 
ner to a stranger was most unusual. Kim smiled. 

Speaking in halting Japanese, the man asked, "Are you 

Kim shook his head vigorously, "I am Korean." He picked 
up a handful of earth to show he was from the Land of 
Chosen. "I am Kim Huk Moon." ' 

"Kim Huk Moon" The giant pointed a long finger at 
himself, "Bill Duffy." 

"Bill Duffy," Kim repeated the words slowly. 

A Japanese soldier saw them and came running with his 
bayonet at thrust position. A Japanese officer heard and he, 
too, came running. With one swipe Kim was struck to the 
ground. While the soldier held Duffy at bayonet point, the 


officer beat the American over the head and shoulders with a 
leather riding crop. The tall man took the beating without 
change of expression while other prisoners watched in bitter 

After the officer tired, the giant was led away to the 
monkey cage for punishment while the others were hustled 
to loading the carts. Hirata shouted and waved his arms to 
impress the officer and Kim was warnedif he were seen talk- 
ing to another big nose he would be sent north to work in the 

The trip to Inchon was long and hot. The cart was un- 
evenly loaded and the harness was too large and wore into 
Flame's tender hide. Earn did all he could to ease her torment 
by tearing his shirt into shreds and wrapping pieces about the 
leather digging into her. By constant care and attention no 
open sores developed. The other horses did not fare so well as 
the grooms would not sacrifice clothing to protect their 
charges, but Hirata seemed oblivious to all save his new po- 
sition of leader as he strutted in front, waving a large bamboo 
walking staff. 

There were more prisoners on the Inchon docks and they 
unloaded the carts. A long wait ensued as Hirata and his ten 
carts were forced to wait in a lengthy queue and darkness 
came before they were back in the hutch alongside the 
barbed wire enclosure. Kim mixed Flame an extra ration of 
grain, and while she ate he rubbed her vigorously, working an 
ointment into the spots worn by the harness. After blanket- 
ing her, he spent an hour massaging her legs and caring for 
her feet . . . and worried about a crack developing in her 

When he went to the stove for food there was nothing left 
but cold soya bean soup. In silence Kim built up the fire and 
heated the soup, but it was so thin it did nothing for the 
drawstrings of hunger pain in his stomach. The Japanese 
horsemen smoked their cheap, foul-smelling cigarettes and 


watched him. Kim wondered what had caused the change . . . 
once they had all been a happy group, working with pride to 
perfect their charges. Now they were ten Japanese and he 
was a Korean. A Korean pig, the officer had called him. They 
were suspicious of him, and Hirata would banish him to the 
mines if he dared risk Kan's anger. When he was through he 
rolled up his sleeping pad and took it onto the rice straw be- 
side Flame. The little mare was stretched out flat and lifted 
her head as he rolled out the pad within arm reach of her. 

Kim realized that moving away was a rude gesture and a 
final break with the Japanese. How long would the tenuous 
thread of Kan's authority hold and protect him? 


A HE NEXT MORNING when Kim led Flame past the compound, 
he saw the American in the monkey cage. The cage, a cocoon 
of woven barbed wire, was too small for its occupant to do 
other than stand erect or fold into a tight knot and sit on his 
heels. This position could be assumed by a short-legged Ori- 
ental, but was impossible for a long-limbed American and 
guards were instructed that prisoners not be permitted to 
cling to the wire and ease the weight from fatigue-throbbing 
legs. It was a form of Japanese punishment all Koreans recog- 
nized. Kim knew thirty-six hours would break a man; forty- 
eight would put him in a state of mental and physical collapse 
and sixty would produce a frothing insanity from which few 

Covertly Kim looked at the blond giant. Stripped to the 
waist and barefoot, the American's face was haggard and his 
body hunger-gaunt and drawn, and interlacing his shoulders 
and back were livid welts from the riding crop. Only his eyes 
were strong . . . cold, blue and undimmed. 

The sight distressed Kim and he wondered how long the 
man must remain in the wire enclosure. It had been twenty- 

[8 7 ] 


four hours since the rice-loading incident, yet the blond 
stood erect with his bare feet spread to the limits of the base 
of the cage and his hands locked behind his back. He re- 


minded Kiin of the Colonel's dismounted cavalrymen stand- 
ing at parade rest. He appeared immobile, impervious to all, 
even the swarming flies on his open welts. 

Kim pretended to adjust the harness. While squatting 
under Flame's belly and tugging at the leather straps, he 
noted the position of the sentry who was patrolling a safe 
distance away. 

Kim said, "Beel Duffee " then, in Korean, he added "my 
heart is with you." 

The cold blue eyes warmed, cc Watch yourself, Kim Huk 

Kim could risk no more and taking Flame by the lead strap 
he moved on toward the loading platform and the stacks of 
bagged rice. The boy learned much in the following days. He 
saw the pitiful amount of rice given the prisoners for food 
and learned that once a week they were served a thin soya 
bean soup that was little better than hot water. Though the 
prisoners handled tons of rice a day, the guards were so strict 
none was able to secrete even a handful in his rugged clothing. 
Those who were caught were given twenty-four hours in the 
monkey cage. 

Bill Duffy was the bellwether, the standard bearer for the 
others and he came from the cage unbowed, but his ribs pro- 
truded through his skin in ugly ridges and blue-black circles 
rimmed his eyes. 

Kim worried and planned a way to get rice to his friend 
before the man died of starvation. Lying on the straw near 
Flame, he thought of scheme after scheme, only to discard 
them as holes of weakness appeared. One night, as a streak of 
lightning from a dark cloud, it came to him. The next day he 
bought a bamboo walking staff much like Hirata's and the 
groom was pleased to think the boy was aping him. That 


night Kim carved a tight fitting cap to the handle joint. With 
the cap removed, the bamboo was hollow to the next joint 
and would hold three handfuls of rice. With a second staff of 
like size, he carved a similar cap and hid it in the straw. Then 
he began to fret over the language barrier between Duffy and 

The next day at the loading platform Kim developed a 
limp and leaned heavily on his staff. When the sentries were 
otherwise occupied, he caught the American's eye and mo- 
tioned for him to begin to limp also. Duffy could not under- 
stand the pantomime, shook his head and went on with the 
loading of sacks. En route to Inchon Kim removed the cap of 
his staff and pushed the open end through the loose weave of 
the rice straw bags. When the bamboo came out it was filled 
to the first joint and, with the cap in place, no one would 
suspect it contained three handfuls of rice. 

During the following days Kim attempted to convey to 
Duffy that he wanted him to become lame so there would be 
an excuse to lean on a staff. The American knew the boy was 
attempting to convey a message and his face clouded with 
anger for not being able to grasp its import. 

One day when there was a great hullabaloo over a sack of 
rice that was dropped and burst open, Kim removed the cap 
and revealed the rice in the handle. Instantly the American's 
face lighted with understanding and it was not many minutes 
before he tumbled from the platform and set up a terrific 
wailing. It was so genuine that even the guards were im- 
pressed. When Duffy attempted to stand, his right ankle was 
like rubber and he yowled even louder. 

Kim said to the Japanese NCO in charge. "Honorable Ser- 
geant, Sir, you have the big heart of a brave fighting soldier. 
Allow me to give the big nose my bamboo stick so he may 

The sergeant considered. He blew his nose and scratched 
under his arm. 


"It will take four men to carry such a big one back to the 
wire enclosure and we will be late with the loading, which 
will make the Honorable Lieutenant yell like he did the other 

The sergeant said, "Give him the stick." 

Kim held out the bamboo to Duffy. In a loud voice he 
shouted, "Here you are, clumsy big nose. Use my stick. I 
should beat you with it for delaying us." 

Duffy took the stick and got to his feet by leaning heavily 
on it. The corners of Hs mouth jerked and his eyes were 
warm and slightly moist when he looked at Kim. 

"I love you, Buster," he mumbled. 

The next day Kim carried the staff he had buried in the 
straw and on the road to Inchon filled the handle with rice. 
The following morning he and Duffy effected an exchange. 
Each day this was done and Duffy, in turn, gave the rice to 
fellow prisoners who were suffering the worst for malnutri- 
tion. The extra rice, small as the amount was, would save the 
lives of several borderline starvation cases. To protect Kim 
and assure the Japanese would not take away his bamboo 
staff, Duffy beat his ankle nightly to keep it puffed and dis- 

One morning while Duffy sat on a bag of rice during the 
mid-morning rest period, he slipped off the cap and shoved 
the open bamboo through the rice straw sacking. At the 
noontime lock-up he emptied the rice under his sleeping pad. 
In the afternoon he again filled the handle and in this fashion 
was able to double the amount of stolen rice. At first Kim 
was puzzled when Duffy failed to exchange walking sticks, 
but he soon realized the American was doing his own stealing. 

Before long another prisoner came down lame and was 
forced to implement his walking with a bamboo stick. Kim 
hugged himself with delight when he saw several more taken 
lame and leaning on crutches of bamboo. He hoped they 


would not overdo it and make the Japanese suspicious, but 
Duffy was aware of this danger also and would allow no 
more than one in fifteen to go lame. 

It was two months before Kim could prevail upon Hirata 
to ask the Japanese officer to allow him to return to the race 
track to gather up horseshoes, nails and other supplies for the 
animals. Flame's shoes were paper thin and her hoofs were 
peeling ... if new shoes were not soon available, her feet 
would be permanently maimed. Although the supplies were 
badly needed, Kirn was more concerned over the welfare of 
his mother and Chung Soon and news of his father. No word 
had passed between them since his departure. Kim slept fit- 
fully and was in the saddle before daylight. Flame was happy, 
being relieved of the hated task of hauling the rice cart, and 
the two of them rollicked along in a better mood than either 
had known since Kan and the Colonel left Korea. 

Kim found the track overgrown with weeds and that van- 
dals had broken into the stable and house. Everything of 
value had been stolen, but the thieves had left horseshoes and 

He put Flame in the charge of an old man whom he 
trusted while he took a trolley into the city to withdraw some 
money. At the bank he received the distressing news that a 
government ruling had been passed whereby funds were au- 
tomatically invested in war bonds. Kim did not understand 
such procedure and the Japanese teller grew angry and 
shouted at him. Instead of having five hundred fifty-three 
yen, he had five war bonds worth a hundred yen each and 
fifty-three yen he could withdraw if he wished. This he did. 
He considered the bonds worthless and his money in the bank 
had been the anchor to the hope that some day, some way, 
he could buy Flame. His disappointment was so great he had 
to fight back the tears. 

Buying food and small presents, he went to the village. 
It was little changed save that the people looked more work- 


worn and hungry. The old woman still sat with her back to 
the mud wall of her hutch and when her staring, lusterless 
eyes stared directly at him and there was no outcry, he real- 
ized she was blind. 

He went to her. "I am Earn Hut Moon," he told her and 
untied his bundle and placed in her hands a small packet of 
tea. "I would be honored if you would accept this." 

At the five street intersection his heart jumped when the 
police sergeant waved him over. 

"What are you doing here?" 

Kim handed over the paper signed by the officer at the rice 
collecting point. "I am to pick up horse supplies at the race 
track and return to the farms." 

The policeman scowled as he read; he returned the paper. 
"What have you in the package?" 

"Food for my sick mother and a present for my sister." 

The officer took the package, tore off the bindings and 
ripped away the paper cover. An inner package burst and 
some of the tea spilled at his feet. More of it spilled when he 
thrust it roughly back into Kim's hands. 

"Don't let me see you around here beyond the stated time 
in your pass from the army lieutenant. I have a monkey cage 
waiting for you." 

Fighting to control his anger, Kim hurried down the street. 
When out of the policeman's sight, he reshaped the package 
so that it looked more like a present. 

Chung Soon saw him and came flying to meet him. Her 
face told him what he feared as she clung to him for a long 
moment. In silence they walked into the house where Mother 
Kin sat on a sleeping pad before the stove. She made him 
think of the poor blind woman he had just seen. 

After a time he left them and made his way to the shrine 
in the mulberry orchard where he wrote a prayer and placed 
it on the wheel. It was easier now to understand why his 
father had hated the Japanese, and he realized that if it were 


not for Kan and Takeo and the Colonel, he would hate the 
Invaders of his country as much as his father had. After pay- 
ing the Buddhist monk, he walked slowly back to the village. 
In the market place he bought a heavy cover because Chung 
Soon had told him the mother was sleeping cold at night. His 
resentment flared anew when he counted the remaining yen. 
There were only twelve left and he wanted to grind the war 
bonds into the dirt. 

Late that night Kim returned to the track and slept in the 
stall with Flame. Before daylight he led the little mare to a 
smithy they both knew and, with borrowed tools, pared and 
trimmed her feet and fitted on new shoes. It was apparent 
that Flame thought this meant a return to the life she loved. 
For the sake of old times, he took her on a gallop around the 
grass grown course. She struck her vain, arch-necked gait 
and it was not difficult for the boy to imagine the crowd once 
again was cheering them. Much of the fire left her when he 
put a pack behind the saddle and turned her southward. 

Tragedy struck the day following Kim's return to the rice- 
collecting point. One of the prisoners dropped his bamboo 
staff . . . the cap flew off and rice spilled onto the ground. 
Amidst loud yelling, beatings and swearing, all walking sticks 
were collected; and were found to contain stolen rice. The 
sergeant of the guard remembered Kim presenting the bam- 
boo to Duffy. Without asking for a confession or allowing a 
denial, he descended on the boy with maniacal fury and beat 
him into an unconscious state. 

The excitement was too much for high-strung Flame, and 
matching the savagery about her, she went berserk and 
kicked her way free of the hated cart and harness. 

When Kim regained his senses he was in a barbed wire 
cage. It was a long time before his eyes would focus and he 
could make out Duffy in the cage next to him. It was still 
longer before he could move and when he did it brought such 
pain he groaned- 


Duffy, his huge body a cross section of welts, heard the 
boy. Through puffed lips and over a cotton-dry tongue, his 
voice was a growl. 

"Fin sorry I got you into this, Buster, but our day will 
come. Live! Live for it! The day we win this war will be 
the Day of Judgment." 

Forty-eight hours later Kim was taken from the cage and 
thrown into the stall with Flame as a concession to the an- 
imal. Since the day she had kicked her way free of the cart, 
she would allow the other handlers to water and feed her, 
but at the mere suggestion of placing her in harness she went 
into a fury that scattered Mirata and the others like dry leaves 
in a wind. She was an outlaw and Hirata came to know sleep- 
less nights as he thought of meeting again with Kan. 

Kim never did remember the days or how many there were 
before he awakened one morning to find Chung Soon bath- 
ing him. She had left Mother Kim in the house of School- 
master Yu and made the journey to deliver a letter from 
Takeo. The boy's first regard was for Flame and he leaned 
weakly against the horse as his hand ran over her body. She 
was thin and it was not until she was fed and watered that 
he took the letter into the light. A blinding pain darting 
across his eyes made standing erect difficult. 

Carefully folded in the heavy envelope were five one hun- 
dred yen notes. Earn looked about quickly as he pocketed the 
bills. Good old Takeo. He would not forget that money was 
needed for feed and supplies. He smiled at Chung Soon . . . 
money worries were over now and they could buy winter 
wood and food. He began to read. The first words brought a 
tremor to his hands and his face grew pinched and old. 
Turning toward the stall he went to the horse and pressed his 
throbbing head into her mane. 

"Kan was killed in battle." 

He sat in the straw and Chung Soon settled beside him 


with her arm about his shoulders. His breathing was so heavy 
she turned her head that she might not embarrass him to see 
him crying. 

"We must not tell Hirata. It is all that keeps Flame and me 

It was several weeks before Kim was able to work, and 
even then his headaches persisted and there -were times when 
th pain was such as to blind him. It took even longer to 
cajole Flame into accepting harness again. The boy coaxed 
and used every persuasion with the little mare because Hirata 
had told him, on direct orders from the army lieutenant, that 
if she did not work she would not eat. Patience and love ac- 
complished the task and one day Flame accepted the harness, 
and they were assigned to hauling the night soil cart through 
the camp while prisoners emptied latrine buckets into it. It 
was a demeaning job and Kim was aware it was a studied in- 
sult because Hirata had lost face in being unable to handle 
the horse and the others had laughed at his failure. The 
groom's hatred for the boy and Flame became a heavy thing. 
He drew up a letter of false accusations and mailed it to Kan. 

There was one redeeming feature to the foul job as it 
brought Bam in contact with Duffy again. The big blond 
and the others caught carrying rice-concealing bamboo staffs 
had been put on half rations and given the most degrading 
jobs. Under heavy guard Duffy and four others had been as- 
signed to the night soil cart. The boy was distressed at the 
sight of his friend. His cheeks were sunken and the eyes were 
like the blue sky shining through the holes of a skull. Kim 
knew the man would not live if more food wasn't put into 
his stomach sack. 

One evening Kim slipped away and made his way into 
Anyang. He searched through the market with care to find 
food in tins. After some thought, he decided on canned tan- 
gerines; the fruit would prevent beriberi and the sugar 


syrup would give quick strength. He also bought canned fish. 
Upon his return to camp he placed the tins in a latrine bucket 
and covered them over with the slop from, another. He went 
to sleep happy in the knowledge his friend would fill the 
corners of his gnawing stomach before another night passed. 

He had been asleep only a short time when a searing pain 
over his left eye brought him awake with a scream. Moaning 
softly, he rocked back and forth until the pain subsided. 

The next morning Kim led Flame and the horrendous- 
smelling cart into the wire enclosure. Duffy and his fellow 
prisoners were waiting for them at the gate. The soldier 
guards did not follow them on their rounds inside the wire, 
but lighted cigarettes and waited at the gate. Once out of 
sight, Earn poured off the refuse in the bucket with the tins 
of food. 

Duffy knew his life was in those tins. He patted the boy's 
shoulder. "As I said before, Buster, I love you." 

Kim soon discovered there were other advantages to the 
job. For the most part, they were through by mid-afternoon 
and the roads about the prison encampment were easier on 
Flame's feet than the one to Inchon. When the rice crop was 
harvested and hauled to the harbor town, the paddies had to 
be prepared for a second crop. The sight of the other horses 
hauling ploughs through the knee-deep muck of the fields 
made Kim realize Hirata's revenge was really a blessing. 

To the west of the enclosure Kim discovered a broad- 
backed paddy dike. It was more than a half mile in length and 
was free of rocks and potholes. Gaining reluctant permission 
from Hirata, the boy began taking his charge for a gallop 
in the cool of the evenings. Earn was becoming increasingly 
concerned over the knotty muscles that cart hauling was de- 
veloping in Flame and he hoped the nightly exercise would 
bring back her running legs. 

Life settled into an uneasy pattern. Twice a week food 
was transferred to Duffy and the American was showing the 


effects of his supplemented food allowance. Twice Chung 
Soon made her way south for night visits. Mother Kim was 
improved with the extra food and warmth from the wood 
purchased with Takeo's money. Nam Soon was living with 
them now that her husband had been drafted into a Korean 
Labor Battalion and shipped overseas. She had a baby boy 
now five months old and a second child was on its way. 

Chung Soon's third visit brought a letter from Takeo 
which struck alarm in Kim's heart. The old trainer wrote that 
Kan's family had turned over Hirata's damning letter to him 
for answering. The old man counseled peace; they must not 
allow disagreements to work to the harm of the horses. They 
were horsemen and the animals were their first concern and 
responsibility. Anger should not disrupt them; they owed it 
to the memory of his Excellency the Colonel and to the man 
they all had loved . . . Kan, the number one. 

Despite the kind words, Kim knew Hirata would banish 
him if he ever learned Kan was dead. Takeo's letter to the 
groom must be at the post office near the track. Chung Soon 
must go to the post office and ask for mail held there for all 
the Japanese, and burn the letters. 

As she prepared to leave, she asked Kim to walk with her 
for a short distance. When they were alone on the road, she 
told him that Schoolmaster Yu had told her the war was 
going badly for the Japanese; that she acted as messenger for 
him and meetings were being held and plans laid for a new 
government once the Nipponese were defeated. Kim was 
startled by the news. He had never dreamed the Japanese 
would be defeated. What would that mean to Flame, he won- 
dered? No matter what happened, peace or war, they must 
never be separated. He watched Chung Soon down the road 
until she was out of sight. 

Though his head pained severely, he saddled Frame and 
they went for a gollop on the dike. That night he suffered a 
searing, tearing pain over his left eye. He had experienced 


many such attacks, but this was much the worst. He was wet 
and trembling when it finally passed. 

In the morning, for the first time, he noticed he was nearly 
blind in his left eye. When he held his hand over his right 
eye, all he could see were shadows. 

As slowly as a tule fog slipping away from low ground, 
changes occurred in the Japanese personnel of the prison en- 
campment. Those who had been cruel and savage walked 
with fear in their eyes and no longer went into the enclos- 
ure alone. The ration of rice for the prisoners was increased 
and doctors made a show of concern over the health and wel- 
fare of their charges. Less and less work was required of the 
Americans in the fields and a blanket of tense waiting covered 
the land. No longer were heard the shouting and cursing of 
guards and the sodden blows of clubs on bowed backs. No 
one had been thrown into the wire cages for many weeks. 

One evening Hirata came into the room where Flame and 
Earn lived. He smiled and offered the boy a cigarette. 

Kim shook his head, "I do not smoke." 

Hirata squatted on his heels and nodded pleasantly as 
though the obvious rudeness of the refusal went unnoticed. 
He sucked on his cigarette, he spit on the straw and scratched 
at his belly. Words came with difficulty. 

"I think you should be number one again." 

Kin lowered his left eyelid so the fuzziness from that eye 
would not interfere with seeing his enemy, 

"Why?" he asked. 

"You know, Worthy Kim, I never wanted to take your 
place, but that miserable Army officer made rne. He would 
have killed me if I'd refused." 

"Do you remember the day the rice was found in the walk- 
ing sticks?" 

Hirata nodded and the forced smile left his lips. 

"Do you remember how you joined the guards in beating 
us? When the war is over and the Americans are turned 


free, I would not like to be you. I tremble to think of what 
they will do to you." Kim untied Flame's lead strap and took 
the horse for a walk along the dike. 

It all happened overnight. The next morning Hirata was 
gone. So was the savage sergeant of the guard as well as the 
lieutenant. All who remained were those Japanese who had 
done their duty fairly and without cruelty. The rest had 
taken to the hills. 

The gate of the enclosure was open and the Americans 
were milling around and shouting and laughing. Duffy saw 
Kim lead Flame from the hutch, and came running. He threw 
his arms about the boy and swung him in great circles. There 
were tears in his blue eyes and unashamedly he held Kim 
close and hugged him. 

"I love you, Buster!" Duffy shouted and waved his: long 
arms to the surrounding, shouting prisoners. Duffy quieted 

"If it wasn't for this kid, a lot of us wouldn't have made it. 
Before we head for Inchon we've gotta see what we can do 
for him. Get that Jap translator over here." 

The translator, an anemic little man wearing heavy glasses, 
was dragged from the administration building into the center 
of the circle. 

Duffy said, "You're all right, Mr. Moto. We're not going 
to hurt you." The Japanese wet his lips and smiled briefly. 
"Tell our friend here, Kim Huk Moon, that we are proud to 
be his friend. Tell him we want to do something for him. Ask 
him what he wants most of all in this whole, wide, beautiful 

Earn listened carefully to the interpreter. He asked that the 
last be repeated. 

"The big nose says" 

Kim glared. "You will not call him that! It is not his fault 
his nose is like a wall between his eyes. He is my friend and 
you will call him. the Honorable American." 


The Japanese gulped. He said slowly, "The Most Hon- 
orable American is your friend. He wants to know what 
you wish most of all in this life." 

Bam looked at Duffy and then he looked at Flame. He be- 
gan to tremble as he had at the track railing ten years before. 

"Tell my worthy American friend I would rather own this 
horse than live until tomorrow." 

Kim's wish was made known. Duffy nodded as though he 
had guessed as much. Telling the other Americans they 
should be ready to leave for Inchon in an hour, he led Kim 
and the interpreter to the administration building. When 
suitable heavy paper was found that pleased him and the 
Japanese had his writing brush poised, Duffy began to dic- 
tate: u To those whom it may concern: In acknowledgment 
of the loyalty and courage of one, Kim Huk Moon . ." 


JO.IM AND FLAME RETURNED to Seoul. They skylarked all the 
way and the boy read and reread the letter given him by 
Duffy. He even read it to the horse and she appeared to un- 
derstand it was something important and would go into her 
rocking horse gait. It was a happy day for both. 

At the track they found disrepair and weeds. Vandals had 
torn away doors and all burnable materials and the stables 
looked hollow-eyed and gaunt. Kim found an. old beggar, 
Lee Bok Won, living in one of the stalls. 

He said to him, "Old man, you know this horse and you 
know me. At night you sleep in her stall and guard her. I 
have nothing but Japanese money and it is worthless, but I 
will see that your rice bowl is filled each day. When racing 
starts again I will have money and you will have money." 

They rubbed Flame down and put her in the same stall she 
had occupied before the war. Scouring the area, they found 
enough lumber to make a door and from the infield pulled suf- 
ficent grass to feed her. Then Kim wandered about the track 
in a fog of nostalgic memories. Here he had stood, a trembling 
little boy, peering over the rail at Flame and Kan . . . 



dear, honorable Kan who was his brother. And here he had 
clung to the leather reins of the lunging stallion. Here it all 
began with Takeo and Kan. These men he loved, yet his 
people hated the Japanese. He hated the sergeant who had 
beaten him blind and the policeman who had sent his father 
away to die. He despised poor, mean Hirata, but he felt about 
these men as he did because they were mean men, not be- 
cause they were Japanese. All Japanese were not cruel and 
hateful any more than all Koreans were good and kind. 

Tears were in his eyes as he walked the rough track and 
he wished he could turn time backward to the happy days 
when they were together. As he entered the stall, Flame; t 
turned to him and he held her head close. She sensed his* 
mood and leaned in to him. 

At home Kim found his sisters in the yard with the chil- 
dren. Nam Soon's youngest was learning to walk and had no 
memory of him, but the older boy Yon came running. For 
the first time Kim had no little present for the child. Mother 
Kim was inside the house and not far from the stove, though 
it was a warm day. He looked at this withered, fragile woman 
and thought of a hillside flower in the late fall. 

After the first babble of greetings was over, Kim learned 
of a happy circumstance. On Schoolmaster Yu's advice, 
Chung Soon had spent all her Japanese money for food be- 
fore the war ended and the yen became worthless. No matter 
what happened, there would be food for some time. This had 
been a worry to the boy, and more than ever he realized 
what a debt he owed Chung Soon. 

Two clouds darkened the boy's horizon. The headaches 
he suffered were not so frequent nor so violent, but the sight 
of the left eye was completely gone. This worried him be- 
cause it would affect his riding in races. He was thankful it 
was the left eye because he could still see the rail through his 
right. Riding Flame would be safe for she knew more about 
racing than he did, but if he was to be a number one rider, 


he must accept the risk of riding ill-trained horses. He told 
no one, not even Chung Soon, of his injury. 

The other problem was Nam Soon's husband. Only one 
letter had been received since he had been shipped overseas 
in a Korean labor unit. His letter had stated he was in the 
204th Naval Construction Battalion; that he was on an island 
and the work was heavy; that he was well, but was longing 
for the day when he could return to his family in the Land 
of Chosen. 

Kim took the letter to a government building in the center 
of the city. In a confusion of hallways, endless queues of 
people and harried clerks, he finally came on a sweating, 
overworked fellow. The man read the letter and checked the 
information with a mass of papers. 

He told Earn, "Your brother-in-law was with the Japanese 
forces on the island of Iwo Jima. There were no Korean sur- 
vivors from that battle." 

With a heavy heart Kim took the news to his sister. Her 
grief was uncontrollable. Two days later her body was found 
in the Han River. When Chung Soon came running to the 
track, Kim put his arm about her and wiped her tears and 
held her close. 

"Little sister, we now have a family." 

Kim worked long and patiently with Flame. The mare, 
now twelve years old, came to condition slowly. There were 
days when she would have that long, smooth stride that made 
Kim think of oil slipping from a spigot. But, for the most 
part, it appeared to be hard labor for her to run. The spirit 
and heart were still there, but the rice carts of Anyang had 
stolen the vibrance from her muscles. Kim knew she could 
not regain her old form, but blinded himself with the opti- 
mism of love. 

The boy put himself through an equally rigorous program 
or learning to see all that must be seen in a race, with one eye. 


His ears and senses must tell him when a horse was slipping 
up on his blind side. He welcomed impromptu brushes with 
other horses. Such small races were good for Flame and better 
for himself. 

The wheel of time spun slowly. A Korean government was 
formed and the argriculture department opened a horse farm 
on the island of Che Ju. Many horses previously owned by 
Japanese were shipped to the island to form the foundation 
stock The Seoul City Race Club was formed and Chung II 
Bin was elected president. More and more horses returned to 
training at the track, but all were suffering from cart-horse 
muscles developed during the war. The stables were repaired 
and the ground cleaned until the look of the old days re- 
turned and then, one day, the dates for the first race meet 
were announced. 

And it was time, Kim thought. If it were not for their 
great and dear friend, the scholarly Yu, there would be no 
food in the Kim house. The boy aimed his training schedule 
to bring Flame to peak condition, and he told her, "You're 
running for rice now, little one. Just give me this one race 
and I']! ask no more." 

The first day of the race meet was a gala occasion. It was 
more than a festival; it was a manifestation of freedom by the 
freedom-loving Koreans. The people began to arrive early 
and before the first of the morning races, the grounds were 
packed. By midday when the better horses were to run, the 
crowd was a straining, seething mass. It was said there were 
nearly a hundred thousand present. 

The shadows were long and the day cooler when the seven 
horses in the feature race walked toward the barrier. Kim had 
drawn number five position, which put him in the middle. 
There was much seesawing and jostling for advantage as the 
stater sent them back for a more even walk-up. Twice the 
horse on Kim's blind side slammed into Flame and for the 


first time cool, confident Flame was unsettled. Kim shouted 
angrily at the rider on his left. Thus diverted, he missed the 
starting signal and they were the last away. 

Flame wanted to fling herself at the leaders and run them 
down, but Kim eased her into stride and tried to console her 
into a more rational pace. Kicking up a blizzard of clod and 
cutting dirt, the pack went into and around the first turn. 
On straightening out for the long run down the back stretch, 
Kim gave the signal and the little mare began her move. But 
something was missing. In the days gone by she would reach 
a fast turn of speed and flash past slower horses at a pace that 
was heartbreaking to them. Now it was an inch by inch 
gain and it was hard labor. 

Kim knew she was running to her limit and there were still 
three ahead of them; he also knew that no horse could run 
all out for long. He collected her and eased her back for a 
breathing spell. For the distance of two hundred meters 
Flame ran on the heels of the three leaders who were abreast 
and nose-to-nose. As the threesome went into the turn, a dart 
of light shone between the rail and the pole horse. Kim and 
Flame saw it at the same time and they rushed into it. Keep- 
ing his eye on the rail, Kim shifted his weight to the left to 
meet the bumping he felt would come, for the rider was Choi 
Chang, a lusty, rough one. Choi yelled and came over on 
them. Kim met the weight and kept Flame off the dangerous 
railing. Fighting doggedly to keep on her feet, the little horse 
wedged and drove herself farther into danger. 

Unable to see the horse on his left and the rail at the same 
time, Kim tried to judge the rhythm of the jostler and met 
each thrust with all his weight. Slowly, inexorably, Flame 
fought forward until she was eye to eye with her rival, but 
Kim knew she was through, exhausted. Her stride had short- 
ened and was jerky, and as he looked down the long straight- 
away to the finsh line, he knew that even her great heart 
could not carry her that far. 


And then it happened. As Choi came over with all his 
weight for a final lunge that would knock Flame and Kim 
into the rail, his stirrup strap broke. With a scream he went 
down. The riderless horse swerved to the outside and further 
impeded the others. In an instant Kim and Flame were in the 
clear and ran free to the wire. 

Her gait was so rough he was in a panic that she was badly- 
injured. He eased her to a stop as soon as he could and slipped 
from the saddle. Her legs were cut and bleeding and her left 
quarter torn and the shoe missing from the hoof, but the 
injuries were not serious. He led her slowly back to the win- 
ner's circle. There was no rocking horse show from Flame 
this day and Kim knew she would never race again. It was a 
long walk to the stable and neither of them heard the cheer- 
ing crowd. 

Through the months that followed, Earn searched for a 
stallion to mate with Flame. There were always shortcom- 
ings in the blood lines or conformation or disposition. He 
must have a horse with the blood of kings in its veins and the 
"look of the eagle" in its eyes. Then he remembered the stal- 
lion from Pusan. 

With the money Flame earned in her last race, Kim was 
able to repay Schoolmaster Yu and to insure food for Chung 
Soon and the children for some time. The boy rode other 
horses with indifferent success due to his partial blindness, but 
was able to earn enough to take care of beggarman Won and 
himself, without digging into his reserves. Always, of course, 
was his concern and care of Flame as he waited for her month 
of delivery to arrive. 

As the day grew nearer, Chung Soon began to chide him 
over the hours he spent in the stall. 

"You would think,' 7 she told him, "that this is the first mare 
in the history of the world to have a colt. You are going 
to fuss her into a state of nerves, which will do her no good. 
Come home now and rest." 


Kim went home for the evening meal, but returned to the 
stable to spend the night. It was three o'clock in the morning 
when he sent Won running for the horse doctor. As the red 
sun of June came over the Han, the newly foaled filly stood 
on trembling legs and suckled the soothing colostrum of its 
first meal. Kim smoothed the sweat-streaked neck of Flame 
and the mare leaned her head against him. 

"What a fine one, Flame, and just like you except for her 
one red stocking. And that is good or I could never tell you 
apart when she grows." Kim was so happy he felt the tears 
starting and he kissed the blaze where it was widest between 
her eyes. 

Three mornings: later Kim was terrorized when he opened 
the stall door to find Flame dripping with sweat and head 
hanging. Won ran for the doctor and the man did what he 
could. He kept mumbling, "Fever, it is the fever. One can do 
so little with this sort of fever." 

Kim did not leave the stall and Chung Soon brought him 
food and tried to console him. On the seventh day at dawn 
she came to the stall to find Kim sitting in the straw stroking 
Flame's head. After a time she was able to coax him from the 
place and they took a long walk through the mulberry or- 
chards and along the riverbank. When they returned, Won 
had taken care of things and the stall was empty save for 
the little red filly. As with horsemen the world over, those 
at the Seoul track rallied to the aid of a stricken fellow. 

The rider, Choi Chang Ju, who had tried so desperately to 
win from Flame in her last race, took charge of the grief- 
dumb Kim. 

"I have a mare who dropped a foal three days ago. She 
is big and strong; she can feed two as well as one. Come 
with me, Worthy Rider, and we will see your new Flame 
winning races in no time." 

Kim saw his week-old filly to its foster mother's side and 
then left the track. The place was wrapped in so many mem- 


ones he did not have it in his heart to return. He sat in the 
sun with his back against the wall of the old hutch and 
grieved. A sad mischance brought a long-delayed letter from 
Japan. Takeo had been dead for months. To the boy, this 
broke the circle. Kan, Flame and Takeo were gone and he 
was alone. For ten times a thousand times he abused himself 
for having mated the little mare. Flame would be alive if it 
were not for his own greed in wanting another horse. And he 
came to hate the filly who looked like Flame save for the 
one red stocking. 

The summer passed and the November race meet began. 
On still moments during the afternoon the shouts of the peo- 
ple could be heard, but Kim did not heed and Chung watched 
him with grave concern. Choi was taking fine care of his 
"twins" as he called his charges and he counseled Chung Soon 
not to hurry Kim in his present mood. 

Kim was jerked back to reality when he saw Chung Soon 
on her way to work in the rice paddies. That could mean 
only one thing . . . there was no more money. He put on his 
riding clothes and went to the track and announced he was 
ready to accept mounts. He rode in three races and won all 
of them. There was an exhilaration of achievement and he 
felt better, but he did not go to the stable area where the little 
red filly was housed. Choi had several horses now and hired 
Kim to ride them, and from time to time he would report on 
the filly's condition, but never suggested a personal inspec- 

The filly was sixteen months old before Earn saw her 
again. He was entering the gate by the grandstand one early 
morning when he froze in his tracks and the breath whistled 
from his throat. Flame was in the center field with other 
youngsters, but the boy had no eyes for any but the little 
red. She tired of feeding and, ranging alongside her "twin," 
roughed and jostled it and then broke away in a rocking 


horse gait. It was Flame come to life! There was a purity of 
motion about her that Kim had seen only in one other horse 
and the hatred drained from his heart and he felt mean. 

In an ecstasy, the filly continued her romp to the far end 
of the field and was turning when three dogs broke from 
under the rail and rushed at her. In a moment the scene was 
changed as the terrified filly tried to run back to her mates, 
but the vicious dogs savaged her with two at her front and 
one leaping for her harns. 

Kim was over the rail with a bound. Terror lent speed to 
his limbs and he ran as never before. His shouts distracted 
the dogs momentarily and Flame broke from the fang-ringed 
circle, and with a cry of fear she raced to him. The more 
vicious leader dog followed and was met by Kim's foot. 

Trembling with fright, the filly came close to Kim and 
leaned her head against him. The boy slipped his arm about 
her neck and held her close. 

"I'm sorry, Flame, I'm sorry," he whispered. After a time 
he led her to the old stall and put her inside. He rubbed until 
her fright was gone and then stood away from her. "It's about 
time you learn to be a running horse." When he left the stall 
he was a little surprised that Kan and Takeo were not waiting 
for him. 

The filly came to hand quickly, eagerly. She had more in- 
telligence than Kim had known in a horse and there was a 
searching curiosity about her that was nearly human. There 
was an eagerness to learn that made training little more than 
showing her once. Before their reunion was three months old, 
Kim was forced to admit that the filly had qualities never 
shown by her mother. And then a strange thing occured. It 
was something Kim was unable to explain to himself as he 
realized there had been but one Flame. Now he knew what 
the Buddhist monk meant when he spoke of reincarnation. 
He went to the temple and placed a prayer of thanks on the 


Each day Kim brought Nam Soon's son Yon to the track 
and the boy showed a keen interest in horses. Because of his 
light weight, he was the first to ride Flame in her early train- 
ing with Kim on the lead rope. Then one day Kim mounted 
her and onto the track they went and he gulped when she 
broke into her rocking horse gait. Day after day, week after 
week, the filly went to school and her talents and speed in- 
creased. In racing brushes with other horses she sped away 
from them and was as delighted with herself as was her rider. 
The summer race meet in July was announced and Kim 
pointed her training to the big day. 

One late afternoon, as he was putting Flame away for the 
night, Choi came running. 

"War has started!" he shouted. 

"War" Kim answered, thinking of the day Kan had told 
him of another war. "War with the Japanese again?" 

"No, no! The communists from the North country are 
fighting us." 

Kim frowned and ran his hand along Flame's neck: 'They 
are Korean people." 

"Yes, yes, but they are communist Koreans." 

"What does that mean, friend Choi?" 

"If they win, it means we will live as we lived under the 
Japanese. It means they will take away our horses. Under 
them no man may even own the air he breathes. I am sending 
my horses south with my old father. I will join the army to 
fight these invaders." 

Kim nodded and remembered the Chinese tattooed man. 
From then on he thought of communists as being like that 

"I will take my ancient mother south to Pusan and then I 
will join you*" 

Mother Kim refused to leave the old mud hutch she had 
lived in so many years. Kim pleaded with her and made her 
listen, to the crash of heavy guns moving nearer and nearer* 


The sight of her neighbors packing and fleeing, prevailed at 
last and a hurried collection of belongings began. Impro- 
vising a harness, Flame was put to an abandoned night-soil 
cart. Into this Kim packed the sleeping mats, cooking jars and 
food. On top went his mother and the children. With Chung 
beside him he took the lead strap and they joined the endless 
queue of frightened people. The filly accepted the strange 
assignment without fuss or complaint. 

At the five street intersection, Kim and Chung stopped 
when they heard the wailing cry of the old woman. Kim 
went to her and taking her in his arms, placed her in the cart 
alongside his mother. He was surprised at the lightness of her 
. . . she weighed no more than a half-filled rice bag. 

Such slow progress was made that it was past midnight 
before they were near the ferry site. Obviously there would 
be no crossing at this point with frantic thousands waiting 
ahead of them, and it was impossible to continue along the 
river and cross at the Yongdongpo Bridge. Turning inland, 
Kim led his party through a mulberry orchard and across a 
rice paddy. It was rough going for those in the cart, but the 
old women hung on grimly. When clear of the pack of hu- 
manity, Kim again turned. This time in the direction of his 
home village. Above the village of Chusong-Jong he made his 
way to the river-bank. 

"We must swim the river," he whispered to Chung Soon. 

Unhitching Flame from the cart, Earn took her to the 
water's edge. She looked out over the dark coil of water and 
appeared to know what they were to do ... the air came 
whistling from her nostrils in anticipation. Cautioning the old 
women to remain in the cart with the children, Kim turned 
to Chung Soon. 

"Hang onto Flame's tail. She will swim you across." 

Kim removed the headstall and with his hand on the filly's 
mane moved into the water beside her. The river was shallow 
from summer drought and they were quite some distance 


from the bank before Flame let out a snort and began to 
swim. Earn trailed beside her with his fingers woven in 
her mane. 

"Are you all right?'' he called to Chung Soon. 

"Yes, yes." 

Kim guessed Flame swam three hundred meters before 
her feet came to bottom again. Another period of wading and 
they stood on the southern bank. In the darkness they 
searched out a flat, smooth campsite. 

"You wait here. I will send Flame back with the children. 
You meet her and send her back." 

"Is that safe? Sending her alone? " 

"She has many crossing to make and she can't do it with 
me hanging to her side." 

Kim pointed Flame into the river again and was towed 
to the northern bank. He lifted Yon from the cart and onto 
her back. 

"Hold on tight and Flame will take you to Chung, soon," 
he directed. 

Without order the filly headed into the river while Kim 
stood to his knees in water and followed their progress by the 
sound of her swimming. He shivered; the water was colder 
than he had expected. He was becoming anxious with the 
waiting when he heard Flame swimming, and soon she stood 
beside him. He held her head close to his wet body and 
waited until her breathing was normal before lifting little 
Nam Soon onto her back. The child was near to hysteria 
and refused to go alone. So once again Flame had to tow 
Earn and carry Narn Soon. 

Mother Kim, too, was terrified by the thought of crossing 
the river with the horse. Patiently Kim explained that it had 
to be done, that it was safe and that the little horse was a 
strong swimmer, but her terror refused to wash away with 
his assurances. Finally he lifted her from the cart and carried 


her to the water's edge. Interlocking his fingers in Flame's 
tail, he spoke to the filly and she moved forward. 

It was desperately hard work towing the two, and the 
crossing was slow. When the little horse touched the far 
shore she stood with head hanging and flanks heaving. Kim 
left her and carried his mother ashore. She was moaning from 
the shock of the experience and the chill of the water. Chung 
Soon held her close in an effort to warm her old bones, but 
to no avail. 

The filly had recoved somewhat when Kim returned and 
she turned back into the water again. On the northern shore 
Earn found the cart empty, the old woman gone. Running 
along the bank and calling loudly, he searched and searched 
without success. Streaks of dawn were showing in the east 
when he was forced to admit that his charge was not to be 
found. Making a bundle of rice, sleeping pads and clothing, 
he secured them to Flame's back and and crossed the Han 
for the last time. It was well, for the filly was trembling from 

The succeeding days and nights brought a hunted life to 
Kirn and his family. With Mother Kin and little Nam Soon 
riding, they moved southward along the gutted roads. No 
matter how fast they traveled, it seemed as though the sound 
of enemy guns remained at the same distance behind. They 
were heartened when they met many Americans moving 
northward. The Americans would soon drive out the in- 
vaders, Kim told his family as he scanned the faces, praying 
that he might see Duff y. 

They buried Mother Kim on a hillside overlooking the 
Naktong River, but there was not the time, until two days 
later, for Kim to seek out a temple to pray for the tired old 
lady. She had never recovered from the night river crossing. 

Pusan was chaotic and wild with rumors and the harbor 
filled with ships bringing supplies and men to fight against 
the invaders. This heartening sight did not still the panic 


brought by the news that American troops had been defeated 
and were also being driven southward. 

Kim searched out his friend Lee Eyi Ja, who owned 
Flame's sire, and all were given food and shelter. The little 
sorrel was thin and gaunt and her coat had lost its sheen. Kim 
worked long over her before he fell onto his sleeping pad. 
For the first time in two weeks, they slept the night through 
and there was grain for the filly. 

Two days of rest and Kim went into the city to join the 
Korean Army. They soon discovered his blind eye and he 
was refused armed service, but was put to work on the docks 
unloading American ships. In marshaling every man and an- 
imal to the job of repelling the invaders, Flame and her sire 
came to hauling cartloads of military supplies from the harbor 
to the huge dumps on the skirt of the city. And still the com- 
munist Koreans moved closer and closer to Pusan. 

Kim asked Lee, "What do we do if the enemy break 
through and enter Pusan like they did Seoul?" 

"We are in a trap. There is no place we can go from 

One day there was a flurry of excitement as a ship was 
warped into the dock. Work was suspended and Kim and 
Lee waited in a long line of horses and carts. A Korean Army 
band paraded and school children with flowers in hand 
marched onto the dock singing. A large, black automobile 
moved onto the wharf and several men stepped out. Lee told 
Kim, "That is the mayor of Pusan with the flowers in his 
hand. His name is Kin Chu Han . . . the Honorable Kin is 
going to make a speech to that white-haired big nose, the one 
with the silver star on his shirt collar." 

Kim watched the American general and thought of Duffy. 
He said to Lee, "He has the look of an eagle about him." 

Then they listened to the words of Kin Chu Han: 

"Thank you, General Craig, for bringing your Marines to 
fight for our country. The panic will leave my people now." 


"Who are Marines?" Kim whispered. 

"They are the number ones, it is they who beat the Jap- 


It was not long before Kim learned the Marines were fight- 
ing in the hills not far from his mother's grave and had 
thrown the invaders back into the Naktong River . . . and 
Pusan was saved. But the war went on. The work was hard 
and the hours long and there was never enough rice, though 
Chung Soon worked in the fields. At night Kim tried to for- 
get his empty stomach by dreaming of the races Flame would 
run when the war was over. The next day would be the same 
with long hours of hard work and a small bowl of rice. 

When the Marines drove the communist Koreans from 
Seoul, Kim prepared to return north, but Lee prevailed upon 
him to remain in Pusan until after the winter season. It was 
reported that the capital was destroyed and the food was 
even more scarce there than in Pusan. It was well that Kim 
listened to his friend, for the enemy regained Seoul in their 
winter offensive and further destruction was inflicted on the 

It was a year before the boy put Flame to a cart and 
headed northward. Each mile brought them across scenes of 
destruction and the answer to the rice shortage lay before 
them in the crushed paddy dikes and barren fields. The 
Yongdongpo Bridge had been destroyed, but rebuilt so as 
to support single lines of traffic, and everywhere buildings 
were down and the red tile of their roofs lay in the streets. 
It was a sad return along the banks of the Han to see so many 
landmarks in the ruin of nibble. 

Kim was torn with the pain of it "What is there left?" he 
asked the little red horse plodding at his side. 

In their village they found most of the buildings showing 
the destructive marks of war. Their home was without a roof 
or a north wall. Hard work put it into condition for shelter 


and Kim went looking for work. There was nothing at the 
race track as the grounds were being used by small airplanes 
and helicopters of the American Army, As in the other war, 
the race horses had become cart horses with a few still housed 
in their old stalls. 

Yon was old enough to take care of his sister during the 
day, so Chung Soon went to work in the rice fields. Kim took 
a job earring rice from the fields to the government ware- 
house at the old Cavalry Barracks. Daily the hwan purchased 
less. Though Kim and Chung Soon labored every daylight 
hour, they knew light bowls of rice at night. Again Kim was 
forced to resort to his bamboo walking stick thievery to in- 
sure Nam Soon and Yon food enough for life. There was 
little grain for the filly, and the children spent the days in 
the hills plucking grass for her. 

Choi returned to the track one day. He had lost an arm in 
the fighting around Wonju and was coughing badly. He had 
also lost his family and horses to the war. When he left to 
join the army he had turned the stock over to his father to 
take to Pusan, but that was the last he had heard or seen of 
them. His spirits were good, however, and he made Kirn 
laugh with his tales of fighting. Choi was proud that his bat- 
talion had been attached to the American Army id Di- 
vision- When he had been wounded, it was an American doc- 
tor who lopped off his left arm just below the elbow. They 
had given him a paper which would take him into any Amer- 
ican military hospital and he had been promised an artificial 
arm when the stump was healed. It was evident Choi thought 
himself a lucky fellow, though he did worry a great deal 
about his family and was doing what he could to find trace 
of them. 

Because he was a disabled veteran, he got a ration of rice 
from the government, but his spirit would not let him sit in 
the sun and be lazy. He joined Kim and Flame and did what 
he could with one arm. One night he slipped through the 


fence and stole a sack of barley. For some time after they all 
ate well on barley soup while Flame had her first grain in 
weeks, and her spirit returned overnight. 

One afternoon little Yon came screaming along the road. 
The boy was babbling hysterically. At Kim's urging. Flame 
sped the cart over the rough roads at a reckless pace to the 
village. They found the house crowded with the curious and 
the doctor working over Chung Soon while she lay on a 
sleeping pad. Her lips were pulled away from her teeth in a 
wolfish snarl and her cries filled the room. Kim learned what 
had happened . . . while working in the fields someone had 
stepped on a land mine. Four people had been killed and sev- 
eral hurt. Chung Soon had lost her left leg. The doctor al- 
ready had removed the mangled limb. 

Kim motioned his neighbors from the house and asked the 
doctor, "What can be done?" 

"There is nothing more I can do. Hospital beds are all for 
the soldiers. I cannot even get the drugs I need." 

Choi said, "Write down what you should have. I will get it." 

Kim went to his sister and, sitting beside her, lifted her 
head onto his lap. His gentle hand stroked the cold, damp 
forehead. She opened her eyes and recognized him. 

"Rest, little sister, rest." 

When she was asleep he went into the yard. He was 
shocked to see Choi white-faced and grim, beating the stump 
of his arm with a stick. 

"Have you gone crazy?" Kiin cried. 

Choi rose; he swayed dizzily. "I will go to the University 
Hospital now. When they see my stump they will admit me 
for treatment. Come to visit me tomorrow. I will have the 
drugs for little Chung Soon." 

The next day it took nearly two hours for Kiin to gain ad- 
mittance to the hospital The surly American sentry made 
him remember the Japanese soldier at the cavalry barracks 
gate many years before. Choi had the promised drugs and the 


sad news that he would be confined for several days because 
of the inflammation in his arm ... he had beaten it too hard. 
As Kim left the hospital grounds he saw several Korean sol- 
diers taking their first steps with artificial limbs. 

Two days later Choi showed up with an American doctor. 
Choi babbled happily that this was the man who had taken 
off his arm after the Battle of Wonju; he was now at the Uni- 
versity Hospital and they had met by accident in the hallway 
but the doctor had remembered him. 

After that it was easier. The doctor came to call nearly 
every day and brought food as well as medicine. One day he 
arrived with a jeep load of food and the news that he was 
leaving Korea. It was a sad parting and their hearts were 
filled, but all was not sorrow for Chung Soon was able to 
walk to the door on the crutches he had brought her. 

After the doctor drove away, Kim and Choi sat against the 
wall smoking American cigarettes. Kim said, "I must get one 
of those legs for Chung Soon. You know, the kind I see the 
soldiers wearing at the hospital." 

Choi turned a long face to Kim. "I have asked. They are 
very expensive unless you are a soldier. For Chung Soon it 
would cost much money, I cannot bring myself to steal one 
from an honorable soldier who has given a leg to our Land of 
Chosen. Besides, each one is made to fit." 

"You have done enough, good friend. It is up to me to get 
a leg for Chung Soon. I cannot let her hobble about on those 
crutches. She has spent her life taking care of me. It is my 
turn now. I will get her a leg. Once I wanted to own Flame 
more than I wanted my next breath. I did own Flame; I own 
Flame's image. And now I want a leg for Chung ... I will get 
such a leg. 

The weeks slipped by and the coolness of late October was 
in the air. Kim. and Choi finished their hauling early one day 
and hurried to the track. They saddled Flame and Kirn took 


her for a gallop on the long unused track. The filly responded 
and skylarked with the joy of running free again. When 
American airmen gathered at the rail to watch, she began her 
vain, rocking horse gait and they applauded. 

Choi held her while Kim rubbed her down and the two 
talked about the days to come when the war would be over 
and there would be racing again. They put the filly in the 
stall with a feed of hoarded grain and were about to leave 
when three Americans drove up in a jeep. Proud of knowing 
their language, Choi spoke to them. After many words back 
and forth, Choi said to Kim, "They are looking for a horse. 
They want to buy a horse to carry ammunition. They are 
Marines; you know, the number ones." 

Kim looked at the officer and thought of Duffy . . . the 
same good, clear eyes. He turned sick inside and wanted to 
run away; he wanted to rush into Flamed stall and slam the 
door shut that they might not see her. 

Without speaking or moving, he watched Choi and the 
American move along the stalls and peer inside. Kim closed 
his eyes and waited when the officer unlatched the door and 
stepped into the stall with Flame. He didn't open them until 
Choi called, "He wants to buy Flame! " 

Kim gritted his teeth. "Tell him to go away." 

Choi whistled "He will pay in American green money. He 
will pay two hundred and fifty dollars." 

Kim's throat was stiff, parched. "Will that buy a leg for 

Choi saw his friend's face. He whispered, "Yes, my brother, 
it will buy a leg." 

"Tell him to leave the stall." When they were outside Kim 
entered and closed the door. Flame turned to him and leaned 
her head against him. He held her close. "I'm sorry, Flame, 
I'm sorry. Anyunghee keh sipseeyah" 

Kim helped load the little sorrel into the trailer and watched 


them out of sight. Without looking at Choi he went into the 
stall and closed the door. The strength left his legs and he 
slumped in the corner. For the first time since Kim Huk 
Moon was eight, he cried. 

Reckless with a reel of communication wire. The little mare could 
string more wire in a day than ten Marines. 

Platoon Sergeant Joseph Latham put Reckless through "hoof camp." 
Here he teaches her to step over wire. Of all Marines, Latham was 
her favorite. 

On cold nights Reckless slept in Latham's tent. Here we see her being 
turned out to feed, minus halter or hobbles. 

One of the most important training maneuvers Latham taught Reckless 
was to lie down quickly while under fire. 

Latham introduces his recruit to a jeep trailer. It was only 36" x 72" 
vet she learned to ride in it. 

Reckless beside one of the 75mrn recoilless rifles she served so valiantly 
In Korea. 

The officers' mess tent of the second battalion, drinking her first Coca- 
Cola. L. to R., Lt, Wayne Gauty, Lt. William Hoffman and Lt. Col. 
Andrew Geer. 

Lt. Eric Pedersen, the officer who "recruited" Reckless, is shown guiding 
his charge over rough terrain. 

Hospital Corpsman George "Doc" Mitchell with Reckless when she 
modeled her Australian campaign hat. Mitchell furnished her with 
vitamins and aureomycin. 

Reckless decorated and promoted to sergeant by 

Lt. Gen. Randolph McC. Pate. 

L. to R., Gen. Pate, Capt. Andrew Kovac, Col. Elby D. Martin, Jr-, and, 
reading the citation, M/Sgt. John Strange. On Reckless' left is Sgt. Lively; 
on her right, T/Sgt. Dave Woods. 

Gen. Pate pins stripes to Reckless' blanket. Behind, Capt. Kovac, Col. 
Martin and Sgt. Strange on platform. 

As it should be, Pedersen is at her head when she first touches hoof 
on American soil. 


J.T WAS NEITHER by accident nor frivolous whim that Flame 
came to join the Marine Corps. A young Marine officer rec- 
ognized the necessity of having a horse to carry ammunition 
for his recoilless rifles. At a cost of $250 to himself he filled 
this need (and a junior officer, with family, is intimate with 
the contents of his purse). It was no accident, either, that 
Flame should become a legend in a corps of men which 
breeds legends. The whole pattern of her life had been based 
on loyalty and steadfastness. 

Explanations as to the military situation at this time must be 
borne to understand -why Lt. Eric Pedersen drove to the 
Seoul race track on that October day to purchase a horse. 

Fighting in the vicinity of the truce-talk village of Pan- 
munjom (called Yak Yak Town by the Marines) placed re- 
trictions on United Nations troops in the sector. When Pan- 
munjom was selected as a site for the meeting place, the 
negotiators drew a circle on a map. This circle was 2,000 
meters in diameter with Panmunjom at the hub. Both sides 
agreed not to fire into, over or through this circle. Inasmuch 
as Panmunjom was 5,000 meters forward of the United Na- 


tions Main Line of Resistance (MLR), it was necessary to es- 
tablish a neutral corridor through which United Nations 
personnel could move to and from meetings. This strip, 200 
meters wide, was to be held inviolate, as was the circle. 

Other strictures were placed on the United Nations troops. 
A larger circle with a two-mile radius was established and 
aircraft were not allowed to fly over this territory. Other 
lines were drawn: A corps NO FIRE LINE, a NO VOICE 
lines of prohibition were drawn by the United Nations com- 
mand as insurance no overt act would be committed to give 
the enemy cause for anger. 

A thousand meters east of the Panmunjoni circle was Com- 
bat Outpost No. 2. It was manned by nearly 300 Marines. Be- 
sides the usual sector weapons, it mustered mortars, both 60 
mm. and Si's, three tanks and two Quad 50'$. It was a strong- 
hold, a fortress and its proximity to Panmunjom was a fester- 
ing thorn to the CCF (Communist Chinese Forces) and a 
contradiction to their propaganda that they controlled the en- 
tire area about Panmunjom; that the Americans were going to 
their site to plead a truce. They wanted to remove this barb, 
but were unwilling to pay the price of five thousand casual- 
ties. With considerable military cunning they devised a plan 
whereby they could gain COP 2 and other outposts along the 
line without paying an exorbitant cost. 

COP 2 was only one segment of a battalion sector. There 
was the Main Line and other outposts, and all were inter- 
dependent. The loss of one would weaken the rest, and in 
certain cases, make the line untenable. 

The battalion sector which anchored its left flank on COP 
2 had as a right flank bastion the busy, noisy outpost called 
Bunker. Five hundred yards to the left (west) of Bunker was 
vulnerable Hedy, with cool and calm Ingrid yet another five 
hundred meters to the west. The Chinese command had a de- 


sire for Hedy too, because much of the main line would have 
to be abandoned in that sector if it were to come under their 

Due to the topography, however, Ingrid could halt or hin- 
der any large attack on Hedy because the CCF must make 
their approach through an area known as Hedy's Crotch. 
The Marines on Ingrid could take enemy troops moving into 
the crotch under heavy, flanking fire. Aware of this, the Chi- 
nese resorted to trickery to gain Hedy as they were doing in 
the case of COP 2. 

Twelve hundred meters farther left lay compact, confident 
Outpost Kate . . . named by a young Marine from Ohio who 
was true to his schoolgirl sweetheart, even to the point of not 
being influenced by pin-up pictures in his bunker. And still 
another 1,000 meters west was high-breasted Marilyn. Nearly 
impervious to attack, Marilyn could support outpost Kate to 
her right and COP 2, 2,000 meters to the west. 

Facing these positions from more northern and usually 
higher ground, lay the positions of the enemy Chinese. 
Frowning down on Bunker and Hedy and Ingrid were the 
mighty Taedok Song and bull-shouldered Yoke. Poised and 
ever dangerous to Marilyn and Kate were the Claw, Three 
Fingers and the Boot. Hill 90, at the foot of Marilyn and just 
cut of reach of Three Fingers, was the scene of nightly fight- 
ing. Neither side wanted title to this bit of real estate, yet 
neither could afford to allow the other occupancy. 

Enemy strong points facing on COP 2 were more phleg- 
matic in name, yet contained the usual enemy vitriol . . . Hills 
82, 84 and 138. The Marines came up with two graphic 
names in this sector, Toothache and Molar. Toothache was 
so called because it was in that no-shoot area between COP 2 
and the holy circle and was a constant pain to the Marines. 
Molar was named for the simple reason that on the map it 
looked like an extracted molar. 

The distance between friendly and enemy positions was 


dictated by the distance between various pieces of high 
ground. Sometimes it was a few meters and at other points it 
might be several thousand. In between lay the abandoned rice 
paddies and orchards with the unpruned trees still bearing 
fruit in season. 

Korea is not the ugly country painted by war correspond- 
ents and footsore troops. Their writings reflect the miseries 
under which they were forced to live. In spring, the Korean 
hillsides ,are ablaze with the colors of dark pink azaleas, pur- 
ple scabious, poppies and large blue daisies and yellow, yel- 
low cineraria. Add to these the mulberry, apple and pluin 
orchards and green seas of the rice paddies and the picture is 
one of beauty. Many a Marine will remember the fruit from 
the orchard between the MLH and Marilyn, but won't re- 
member the beauty of the view from Marilyn's crest across 
the long sweep of valley past Three Fingers and the Claw. 
Their view was clouded, no doubt, by the vicious little 
fighters from China who occupied these tracts. 

With luck, aggressive patrolling and the utilization of every 
supporting arm, it could be expected that a reinforced battal- 
ion of Marines would hold this over-long line from Bunker 
to COP 2. However, something had to be done or the enemy 
would capture COP 2 and other key outposts with their so 
called "creeping offensive." 

By using the No Fire Circle of Panmunjom as a shield, they 
would dig around COP 2 and cut the road to the corridor. 
This narrow, rutty affair was the only way to supply the 
garrison. Once isolated, the outpost would fall from lack of 
food, water and ammunition. In a siege, water would be of 
prime importance for there were no natural sources or stor- 
age facilities. 

To cut this road and isolate the garrison, the Chinese began 
OPERATION DIG. Gathering together a horde of their 
best pick and shovel wielders, these human moles began to 
shovel south from the village of Kamon-Dong. In frustration 
and with anxiety, the Marines watched this trench line spread 


like an uncoiling snake and there was little they could do to 
delay or hinder the enemy. In addition to digging, the enemy 
was in the habit of giving vent to their hate by a sporadic, 
though fairly heavy, mortar fire from Kamon-Dong. This 
fire could not be answered by the Marines for fear of drop- 
ping a shell in the circle. The Marines were sure the village 
was also the storage supply base for the sector. 

Along with the digging, other things went on that lent an 
air of unreality to the whole situation. During the day COP- 2 
Marines saw groups of Oriental civilians just inside the circle, 
watching the "diggers." They appeared to be a sort of cheer- 
ing section. There was also a free flow of people from the 
circle to the trench line and from trenches back to the circle. 
At night there was singing by the Dragon Lady, a sultry- 
voiced Chinese girl who knew all the late American tunes. 
The music relieved the tedium of the night watch and her 
propaganda talks held more laughs than most comedy rou- 

"Best show in Korea," was the consensus. 

The Marines watched during the day, listened at night, and 
the trench line grew longer and longer. Something must be 
done, but flat trajectory weapons could not be fired. A miss 
or ricochet would fly into the holy land of the Circle and the 
truce talks would be called off by a trigger-tempered Nam II. 
To forestall possible use of mortars, the Chinese bent their 
digging so close to the circle that it was impossible to fire 
with these high-angle weapons. At best the mortar is not a 
precision weapon. The Marine command had one alternative. 
If the right site could be found, it was the place for the em- 
ployment of the Recoilless Rifle. 

The Recoilless Rifle does not fall into the same awful cate- 
gory as the atomic bomb, but It comes from the same devel- 
oping agency . . . World War II. And it can be as deadly 
within its sphere of influence. The end result is the same to 
the man who gets a direct hit. 

The Recoilless Rifle is a specialized weapon. It is an artil- 


lery piece without wheels; it is an antitank weapon; it can be 
carried by four men, three if they're willing and able. It can 
throw a 75 mm. shell several thousand yards with precision. 
In the vernacular of the troops, the weapon is called a "reck- 
less" rifle. This name stems partly from a contraction of its 
true name and partly from the fact that one has to be a little 
on the reckless side to associate with such a weapon. Due to 
the horrific back blast, it is impossible to conceal its firing 
position and the enemy is committed to taking instant coun- 

The RR platoon is a unit in a Marine antitank company 
and it is under the control of the regimental commander. 
This arrangement makes them military gypsies in that they 
may be assigned on a day by day, or even hour to hour basis 
to one of the three infantry battalions. They are sent wher- 
ever the need is most urgent. 

At this juncture the ist Battalion jth Marines, commanded 
by Lt. Col. Alexander Gentleman, occupied the Bunker-COP 
2 sector. This creeping, digging type of enemy offensive, 
though slow, could be deadly and Gentleman knew some- 
thing had to be done to stop it. When observers reported a 
deep trench through which hand carts of supplies were being 
moved from Kamon-dong to outlying points, the Marine 
commander took action. 

Gentleman made a reconnaissance with Lt. Eric Pedersen, 
who commanded the Recoilless Rifle Platoon. It was decided 
to set up a gun at the confluence of the neutral corridor and 
the No Fire Circle. From this position the gun could fire into 
Kamon-dong and the trench works without danger of violat- 
ing the sanctity of the corridor or the circle. At the same 
time, it would be virtually impossible for the enemy to return 
the fire without dropping a shell into the circle or onto the 

If the Chinese should send an infantry force to capture the 
weapon, all that had to be done was to withdraw a few meters 


into the corridor, wave the attackers farewell or make ges- 
tures even more expressive and understood in all languages. 
This synthetic, restrictive war around COP 2 was real enough 
to the Marines who got hurt there, but to those untouched it 
became a few months of wonderment in their lives. 

As soon as Gentleman and Pedersen came to a decision, the 
younger officer guided a gun squad into position. The circle 
was three yards to the left and the corridor three to the rear. 
Sgt. William Cox got the gun set in. With studied exactness 
Pedersen pointed out the targets in relation to the circle. 
While this was going on a number of unfriendly civilians and 
a few in uniform gathered at the edge of the circle to watch 
the Marines. They did not like what they saw. They shouted, 
they spat, they threw rocks. Pedersen and his Marines went 
about the job of getting set in and ignored the hostile spec- 

Cox sighted in on the first house to the right of Kamon- 
dong. The range was five hundred meters. The first shot had 
little apparent effect. It disappeared like a drop of water in a 
dry sponge. The horrendous back blast scattered the irate 
North Koreans and their anger increased with the sudden 
fright received. More rocks and insults were hurled at the gun 
crew. On the second shot a haze of yellow dust blossomed; 
on the third, the roof fell in and figures were seen pouring 
from the buildings. Methodically, Cox went about the task of 
knocking down the mud huts, one by one, from right to left. 

The supply of ammunition for the rifle came from an ASP 
(Ammunition Supply Point) on COP 2. Although ammuni- 
tion could have been hauled by jeep to within a few yards of 
the gun by using the corridor, this was against the rules. This 
meant the carriers in the squad had to man-pack the 75 mm. 
rounds a distance of nine hundred meters. 

The ASP was in defilade on the southern extremity of the 
outpost. Upon shouldering four rounds (twenty-four pounds 
each), the ammunition carrier passed through a gate in the 


wire and for two hundred yards moved down the rutted road 
leading to the corridor. At this point he turned hard right 
and, crawling under more wire, gained a rice paddy dike. 
Somewhat like a tightrope walker, he negotiated this narrow, 
uneven pathway. 

At this juncture he was in view of the enemy, five or six 
hundred yards on his right hand. His sole protection was the 
corridor some five hundred yards to the left. If the enemy 
should shoot and make a hit, all was well, but if the shot 
missed and went flying over the holy land, the truce negoti- 
ators might argue the matter for days. The Chinese were me- 
ticulous in observing the rules of this strange warfare and 
seldom risked a violation. 

The threat was there, however, and the Marines sweat it 
out as they walked the paddy dike. Four hundred yards of 
dike and then a seven-foot ditch with more wire on the far 
side. Then came a steep climb to a razor-backed ridge. 

After a rough passage through brush and second growth 
trees where crisp autumn leaves lay on the ground and the 
sounds were old and cranky as the tired Marines shuffled 
through them, finally the gun position was reached. Cox was 
laying in three rounds a minute, so it was necessary to unload 
hurriedly and double back to the ASP. The project was 
geared to the idea of doing the job well and quickly and re- 
tiring. Despite the risk of violating the corridor, the Chinese 
would not let the Reckless Rifle perch on Molar and destroy 
their housing and hard-dug trench line without retaliation of 
some sort. 

It was a panting job for the ammunition carriers. PFC 
Coleman, six foot three and weighing over two hundred, 
could shoulder the one hundred eight pound load with more 
ease and speed than could his mate, PFC Jose Cordova. For 
Cordova the weight of the shells was within thirty pounds of 
his own. 

Then Cox hit pay dirt as one of his shots set off an ex- 


plosion. The village became covered by dust and smoke and 
the spectators danced with rage. The Marines unshipped the 
weapon and carried it into the corridor. Kamon-dong, for the 
time, was finished as a supply point. 

One compensation for being a Reckless "cannoneer" was 
that the weapon was designed solely for daylight employ- 
ment. This meant the Reckless crew could spend the nights in 
some comfort behind the lines. Pedersen had an exhausted 
crew. No matter how tough they were, the men could not 
take long, fast hauls over extended periods. As he rode back 
to their base camp near Changdan, he thought over the 

That night he asked Gunnery Sergeant Norman Mull, Pla- 
toon Sergeant Joe Latham and Scout Sergeant Willard Berry 
to his tent. 

"We need a horse or a mule to pack ammunition." All 
nodded in agreement. "A horse could carry eight to ten 
rounds at a faster pace than a man can carry three." Again 
the men nodded. "I'll see if I can get permission/ 7 

Putting the pack before the horse, Pedersen wrote to his 
wife Katherine in Vista, California. 

I need a pack saddle! Please get together with Chess and find 
a good used pack saddle if possible. I don't know how you 
wUl be able to send it to me but you'll undoubtedly find a way. 

Pedersen drove to the ist Batallion CP where he found 
Gentleman in the COG Bunker. 

"Kamon-dong is still burning, Pete/' the battalion com- 
mander greeted him. "That was bloody good shooting today." 

"Thank you, Colonel." Pedersen accepted the proffered 
cup of coffee. "Running that ammunition over rice paddies 
just about whipped the squad though. I'd like to get a horse. 
Will you back me on it?" 

"Sure. I'll do more than that. I'll let you borrow a one-ton 
trailer to haul it around. I'll also call Jess Ferrill and tell him 


I think It's a great idea. But where are you going to get a 
horse? " 

"I thought I'd go to the race track in Seoul. There ought 
to be some horses for sale around there." 

Pedersen's company commander, Captain Henry Checldou, 
was neither opposed nor enthusiastic over the idea. Checklou 
could see more value in the horse as a mascot than as an am- 
munition carrier. He finally agreed to approach the regi- 
mental commander on the subject. The RR Platoon heard of 
the project and were tumultuous in their approval. Every 
man volunteered to act as groom. 

The next morning, after the regimental briefing, Checldou 
found the opportunity to speak with CoL Eustace P, Smoak, 
commanding officer of the 5th Marines. 

Checldou said, "Colonel, some of the men in my unit 
would like permission to have a mascot." 

Smoak was surprised at this request inasmuch as the regi- 
ment was already well filled with mascot dogs. Marines are 
noted for their love of children and dogs and liberty. Though 
there were orders against it, certain rear area units had 
Korean orphans living with them. On inspection days these 
children took to the hills and sat it out until it was safe to 

"I don't see why you shouldn't have a mascot, Henry. 
What do you have in mind?" 

Checklou cleared his throat. "A horse, sir." 

"A horse!" Smoak stared at the company commander. a A 
horse for a mascot?" 

Smoak's executive officer, Lt. CoL Jess Ferrill, spoke up, 
"AI Gentleman called last night. He thinks it's a good idea." 

"It would be more than just a mascot, Colonel. The Reck- 
less Rifle Platoon want a horse to carry ammunition. Being 
mascot would be additional duty, sort of." 

"Okay, Henry, get your mascot. The next time I'm in your 
area, I'll drop by to have a look at it." 


Early the following morning Corporal Philip Carter drove 
his jeep with borrowed trailer attached, to Pedersen's tent. 
Pedersen and Scout Sgt. Willard Berry were waiting. Berry 
crawled into the back seat and Pedersen climbed stiffly in be- 
side Carter. The young officer was hampered by leg and 
thigh wounds received a short time before. 

The trip south from Changdan along the corridor road to 
Freedom Bridge, crossing the Imjim River (a dark coil of 
putrid water) and as far as Munsan-ni, was pleasant. The 
Army engineers had worked over this section to smooth the 
way for the truce negotiators who had to make daily trips 
into Panmunjom. Once south of the negotiator's village, 'the 
road quickly fell apart . , . too much and too heavy military 
traffic for a road designed for horse carts. 

The road ran past burned-out hamlets, broken houses, flat- 
tened orchards, barren paddies, all sadly ruined by war. 
Thirty-five miles of jolting and they came to Seoul. They 
entered the city through the north gate, or what had once 
been the entrance to a walled city. 

Poor, battered Seoul. Fought over by invader and friendly 
rescuer and damaged as much by one as the other. At one 
time Seoul had been a clean, rather comely Oriental city. 
Now the red tile of its homes lay in rubble in the streets and 
everywhere there were spaces where only the shells of build- 
ings remained. On a few of the main streets the streetcars just 
barley ran and on the narrow, ancient secondary streets there 
roamed scavenger dogs and hungry, homeless people. 

Everywhere there were these little stalls, hopelessly shabby 
and dust-covered with the keepers in a trance of hunger and 
despair except for their dark eyes that watched and watched. 
To Pedersen and his fellow Marines there was nothing quite 
so sad as the starving shopkeepers who must choose between 
replacing the stock or using money from a sale to buy food. 

They drove to the headquarters of the Army Purchasing 


Mission. Pedersen spoke with a lieutenant of the Quartermaster 
Corps. The army man knew of no horses or mules for sale. 

"Why don't you try the race track? It's being used as an 
Army OY and helicopter strip, but there are still some 
Korean horses housed there. Try the track." 

He leaned against the jeep and spoke to Carter. "It's not 
far. Follow this street, Hae-Wha-Dong, south until you come 
to streetcar tracks. That's Chong-Ro or Big Bell Road. Turn 
left and follow the tracks about two miles and you'll see the 
race course on your right. Used to be quite a place. They tell 
me there'd be a hundred thousand people there on a big day." 

They found the track without difficulty and drove into the 
stable area. They were greeted by a young, smiling Korean. 
He spoke English after a fashion. Pedersen made his wants 
known as other natives gathered. 

The Korean asked, "You pay hwan or dooler?" 

Pedersen knew it was against regulations to use U.S. cur- 
rency, but he didn't know where to exchange his money. He 
answered, "American dollars." 

The Korean smiled and led the way to a stall, Pedersen saw 
a thin, scabious animal with harness sores. He shook his head 
and moved on. The next horse was better, but not pleasing. 
A third and fourth followed. At the fifth stall he looked over 
the half door. Quickly he stepped inside with the voluble 
Korean at his heels. 

The Marine studied the little red filly; he noted her three 
white stockings, the blaze, the intelligent eye and fine head. 
He remembered a horse he had once owned as a youth in 
Arizona. This was even better, far better. 

He put out his hand and she accepted it without alarm. 
The hair was fine and the skin smooth underneath. Pedersen 
thought of his children in California. How they would love 
her! He spread her lips and looked at the eye tooth. 

"How old?" he asked. 


"Four years and three months." The Korean grinned, "By 
your counting." 

"How much?" 

"How much you pay?" 

"One hundred fifty dollars." Pedersen held up a forefinger 
and then bent it double. 

His guide looked pained. "This is the best horse in Chosen." 
Forgetting himself, the Korean lapsed into his native tongue 
and recounted the animal's history. He ended in English, 
"No, no! Not enough." 

Pedersen made up his mind not to haggle. He said firmly, 
"I will pay two hundred fifty dollars. That is all I have and 
that is all I will pay." 

He knew he had impressed the man. The fellow turned 
and shouted. For the first time Pedersen saw a Korean stand- 
ing some distance from the stall. There was a volley of words 
back and forth. The guide turned. 

"My friend will sell. Please leave the stall for him to say 
his sayonara" 

The Marines were surprised at the ease with which the lit- 
tle horse accepted the smallness of the trailer. Bolstering the 
sides with bamboo staffs for support, Carter drove away. 

Berry leaned forward. "Lieutenant, it looked to me as 
though that Korean wanted to cry. He liked this pony." 

Balancing herself on the precarious platform of a jeep 
trailer, Flame rode into a new life. It was dark when the jeep 
pulled into the Changdan camp, but the RR Platoon broke 
out of their tents to greet the recruit. The choice of a com- 
panion was important and the young officer had given the 
matter considerable thought on the ride back from Seoul. He 
finally decided on PFC Monroe Coleman, a large, soft-spoken 
youth with a lifetime background of ranch life in Utah. This 
seemed to fit him to be consort for the little mare. 

[ 134] RECKLESS 

Pedersen asked Coleman, "How'd you like the job of tak- 
ing care of her?" 

Coleman grinned, "I'd sure like to, sir. I like horses." 

"Good." Pedersen turned to Platoon Sergeant Latham. 
"She'll not be ridden by anyone at any time. In the morning 
we'll build a bunker for her." 

Latham, an Alabaman with years* experience around horses, 
ran his hand along Flame's neck. "When I was stationed at 
Pensacola we had a twelve horse stable for base patrol." 

"Okay, Joe, you're the D.L Put her through boot camp." 

"Shouldn't It be hoof camp, Lieutenant?" 

"Guess you're right." 

"What's her name?" 

"I don't know-" 

From the darkness a voice said, "Reckless. Let's call her 

There was immediate approval. No horse feed being availa- 
ble, Reckless was taken to the mess tent. Her first Marine 
meal consisted of a loaf of bread and uncooked oatmeal. 

In due course, Kay Pedersen received the letter asking for 
a pack saddle. She took the problem to her father, Arthur 
Wells, vice-president of the San Diego Trust and Savings 
Bank. Together they called on an old friend, Dr. Robert Im- 
menschuh, a local veterinarian. The problem was solved then 
and there as Immenschuh donated a pack saddle to the cause. 

Next came the difficulty of getting such a bulky bundle 
accepted for air mail. Postal regulations on service air mail 
was limited to two pounds and a package not over thirty 
inches in length and girth. The pack weighed forty pounds 
and would fill a mail sack. Fortunately a friendly, under- 
standing mail clerk closed his eyes to the regulations and ac- 
cepted the saddle. The Reckless Rifle Platoon of the 5th 
Marines had a horse and the pack saddle was on its way. 


IT WAS GETTING COLDER and it took some prodding to get the 
Marines to crawl from their blankets in the morning. Korean 
sparrows headed south to become Japanese sparrows for the 
winter. The Marines watched duck formations vee across the 
sky and those in jobs detached from contact with the enemy, 
took to the fields for pheasant and duck shooting. Occasion- 
ally the more daring helicopter pilots would fan low over a 
startled deer while a crew mate shot it. Such hunting was un- 
sportsmanklike, but it did bring fresh meat to the mess. 

Supply officers saw to the distribution of long-handled 
underwear and stoves were set up in tents and bunkers. It was 
a new type of military stove developed during the war in 
Korea. They were humorous-looking things . . . round, pot- 
bellied, with a Puckish look about them. They would burn 
nearly any kind of fuel and their feeding was simple. Outside 
the tent or bunker was a barrel of fuel and from this ran a 
rubber hose, garter-snake size, which fitted its mouth to a car- 
buretor. An adjustment knob would feed fuel onto the flame 
at the rate desired. If properly cared for they were safe and 



efficient. If neglected, they were smelly, temperamental and 
as quick to overheat as an angry Frenchman. 

No civilians were allowed north of the Imjim River. Their 
villages and remains of villages were there, but the military 
was freed from the worry of being hampered by helpless 
noncombatants. For the most part, the hutches left behind 
were of brown mud walls with plaited rice straw roofs, now 
mildewed black. Wretched hovels, grim and deserted; it 
was difficult to imagine people living in them. 

The area about Changdan was different. The houses and 
public buildings were of stone and had been, at one time, sub- 
stantial. During the period of Japanese occupation the area 
was used as a hunting preserve by the wealthy from Seoul It 
was a rich countryside with a fine yearly yield of rice, kao- 
liang, barley and various fruits. Modern history does not re- 
cord a crop failure in this district. 

Changdan was the site of the battalion command post de- 
fending the line from Outpost Bunker to COP-2. Masked 
from die enemy by rugged, lofty Mill 229, the village lay in 
a fertile valley. The stone houses had been badly battered and 
few were habitable. The concrete and mortar shell of the 
bank with its iron safe opened and rusted was a constant re- 
minder to the Marines that a well-to-do rural people had once 
been in Changdan. The safe door was left open on order, to 
restrain the curious from probing about. Even with the door 
open, it was a magnet to Marines. The battalion staff lived in 
tents and bunkers. Though within range of enemy artillery 
and mortars, the enemy were more prone to fire on targets 
within their vision than to gamble on the chance of a lucky, 
blind hit behind Hill 229. 

The Recoilless Rifle Platoon had established its camp south 
of Changdan and facing on the road leading to the corridor. 
The day following Flame's arrival was a busy one. Besides 
fulfilling their commitments for fire missions on the front, 
there was a bunker to build and horse feed to be purchased. 


The Chinese appeared to be stunned by the unexpected bom- 
bardment of Kamon-dong, which was still burning, and there 
were no calls for more shelling from Gentleman. The rest of 
the front was quiet, so Pedersen was free to make arrange- 
ments for his recruit. 

The platoon turned to, to build a bunker and fence in a 
small pasture. While this was going on, Latham went south 
of the Imjim to buy feed. A shoebrush was dug out of a sea 
bag and the little horse was thoroughly gone over. There 
were many volunteer hands to supplement Coleman's and her 
coat took on the sheen of a Marine dress boot. The shoe 
polish on the brush may have added to the luster. 

Flame accepted the new surroundings and many hands 
calmly. She had never had so much food nor such a varied 
diet. For the first time in, her life she ate an apple many of 
them. Carrots also were new. And her mouth salivated over 
her first Hershey bar. That afternoon when the wire was up 
and Coleman turned her loose, she romped in sheer exuber- 
ance from so much attention and food. In pure vanity she 
went into her rocking horse gait and there were loud huzzahs 
from the audience. That spurred her to greater efforts. Fi- 
nally she tired of showing off and, going to a far corner, 
began to nibble at the grass. It was the first such food she had 
had since becoming a Marine. 

The Marines were reluctant to turn to the more arduous 
task of sandbagging the roof of the bunker. The protective 
abode was being built to specifications laid down by the di- 
vision engineer for all bunkers; beams and crossbeams of cer- 
tain size with a minimum of four feet of sandbags on the roof. 
Such an overhead, it was estimated, would stop any shell the 
Chinese might throw over the hill. 

The peacef ulness of the scene was broken when two mas- 
cot dogs from the Tank Platoon roamed into the pasture on 
a friendly, sniffing mission. Flame saw them and went into a 
tantrum. With ears flattened and teeth bared, she went slash- 


ing at them. The startled Marines dropped their tools and 
went running to their friend. The dogs ran screaming from 
the pasture and didn't stop until they were crouched under 
the protection of a friendly Pershing tank a half mile away. 

The platoon gathered around Flame. Her eyes flashed a 
white rim and she trembled. Coleman tried to console her. 

"Easy, Reckless, take it easy, little horse." He ran a gentle 
hand along her neck. "Guess she doesn't like dogs." 

"That is the understatement of this war, Coleman," Staff 
Sergeant Pat O'Rourke observed. 

George "Doc" Mitchell, naval hospital corpsman, offered a 
medical opinion. "Acts like she was scared as a kid by a dog. 
Has a psychosis probably. Better pass the word to keep dogs 
away from her." 

Under the sedative of an apple, Reckless quieted and was 
introduced to her new home about the time Latham drove 
into the pasture with a trailer filled with barley, sorghum and 
rice straw. A liberal bed of straw was placed on the deck and 
a Marine green blanket came from one of the bunks as a. night 

Pedersen and Sgt. Berry, who had been on a mission scout- 
ing out new gun positions, returned to camp. The officer in- 
spected Reckless' bedroom. Except for putting a tarpaulin 
across the door, it was complete. Pedersen expressed his pleas- 
ure with the arrangement, but Cordova was not completely 

"Mr. Pedersen, this aint goin' to be warm enough, come 
winter. These Korean winters will freeze the" 

"When it gets that cold, Cordova," Latham interrupted, 
I'll take her into my tent and let her sleep by my stove." 

Reckless accepted the new life in stride. Her curiosity took 
her to every corner of the barbed-wire enclosure. She found 
the galley tent and one morning PFC BiUy Jones, a recent ar- 
rival, offered her a plate of scrambled eggs. She ate with 


relish and showed even greater appetite for the coffee that 

This discovery delayed breakfast and Cordova warned 
Jones, "Wait'li Reckless finds out you've been feedin' her 
powdered eggs. She'll chase you over the hill like she did 
those dogs." 

Thereafter she made periodic visits to the galley and came 
to eat more and more food from that source. Her eagerness to 
learn Marine ways led her into tents where her friends lived. 
After the first few days she was no longer tied in the bunker, 
but allowed to roam. On nights when she couldn't sleep, she 
would visit various tents. If she showed an inclination to stay 
on after "lights out," it was no task to realign sleeping bags 
to make room. 

At the request of the platoon, Gentleman asked his bat- 
talion surgeon to drop by and examine the recruit. He certi- 
fied her "physically fit and capable of performing the duties 
of a Marine of her age and rank." 

Latham was hindered in his recruit training program until 
the pack saddle arrived from California. While waiting, there 
were things that could be done. There was the daily practice 
of getting into and out of a trailer. In no time she became as 
nimble as any Marine going on a liberty run, There were 
walks in the hills and the teaching of caution on coming to 
wire. She showed a sensitivity to barbed wire and her pas- 
sage through it was never without fear. 

When faced with strange circumstances, she would lower 
her head and look over the situation carefully. Her fear of 
the wire made the air whistle from her nostrils and this gave 
the appearance of "smelling out" the danger. After she had 
given an obstacle a close once-over, she would proceed any- 
where a friendly guide might ask. 

When Latham and the recruit had become thoroughly ac- 
quainted and a close bond established, the training became 
more detailed. Latham taught her to lie down. 


"This," he explained, "would come in handy if Reckless 
were ever caught under fire where there was no cover." He 
also taught her to kneel in case sometime it might be neces- 
sary for her to crawl into a shallow bunker. As a joke on the 
platoon and Doc Mitchell in particular, he got the little sorrel 
to limp painfully on her right front leg whenever he flicked it 
with a switch. Until Mitchell caught on to the trick, he was 
all for taking Reckless to the hospital ship Repose for an 
X-ray, Never in his fourteen years in the Corps had Latham 
worked so diligently with a recruit. 

Reckless took all this in good humor. On her own she de- 
veloped several pranks to amuse herself and rankle Latham. 
There were times when she would not allow him to catch 
her. She would continue to feed with studied unconcern as 
he approached, but when he was three or four feet from her, 
she would snort and rear in mock alarm and race away. She 
would circle, at her rocking horse gait, then charge her pur- 
suer with ears back and teeth bared. At the last moment she 
would skid to a stop, rear, and with front hoofs flashing, spin 
away for another run. After a time of this tomfoolery, she 
would walk directly to him and ask for candy. 

Latham was happy to announce to Pedersen and the world, 
"Tell her what you want and let her look the situation over 
an* she'll do it, if she's with someone she trusts." 

No matter the worthiness of a project, there will always be 
detractors, motivated mostly by jealousy. In the case of 
Reckless this was true. When she first appeared in the Recoil- 
less Rifle camp, Marines from other units came to see her. 
They were impressed with her beauty and the glowing re- 
ports of her deportment in "hoof" camp. There was little that 
could be said against her, so the indirect method of criticism 
was used. 

"Been under fire yet?" 

"Nope. 77 


"Been around the Reckless Rifle when it was fired?" 


A long face and pursing of lips at this. "Well, you know 
how it is with horses. They never learn to take heavy fire. 
Mules will. Horses won't. That's why they used mules in 
World War I. Horses are too flighty, go crazy under fire." 

"You don't know Reckless, Mac." 

"I know horses. Just wait'll she's on the line some day and 
little China-boy starts dropping incoming." A derisive laugh. 
"Your horse will be outgoing." 

Though the talk of these detractors was discounted, there 
was planted a sneaking, undernourished doubt. The back 
blast of a recoilless rifle is a scorching, grass-tearing, pebble- 
tossing thing. It is the nature of the weapon. A 75 mm. Pack 
Howitzer or a French 75 recoils with terrific force. This re- 
coil is absorbed and controlled by an intricate system of oils 
under hydromatic pressure. The recoilless rifle firing the same 
size shell has no such system and the expanding gases escape 
in an explosive belch that is not only noisy but dangerous to 
anyone standing behind the weapon. 

Latham ignored the itch of fear he felt under his left shoul- 
der blade and took Reckless for an inspection of the weapon. 
She explored the length of the barrel and lost interest. 

"Its bark is worse than its bite," he told her, "unless you're 
standing directly behind it, there's no danger." 

One day there was a flurry of excitement as a jeep rolled 
into camp. On the front bumper there was a red sign bearing 
two stars. Major General Edwin Pollock, commanding gen- 
eral of the ist Marine Division, had dropped in to meet the 
newest recruit to his command. 

Reckless was looking her best. Coleman had just given her 
a good brushing and her coat shone in the morning sun. The 
general went over her with an experienced hand and prac- 
ticed eye. He was pleased with what he saw. 

It must be admitted that Reckless was not too impressed by 


her visitor. At this point in her Marine career two silver stars 
on a collar meant no more than two stripes on a sleeve. She 
could feel the excitement in Coleman, however, so she re- 
mained quiet. 

"When are you to start using her to carry* ammunition?" 
the general asked Pedersen. 

"As soon as the pack arrives, sir. It shouldn't be long. Fve 
had a letter from iny wife telling me it's on the way." 

The general looked at each hoof in turn. "She needs new 

"Yes, sir. My platoon sergeant is south of the Imjim now 
looking for a native horseshoer." 

"Let me know if you don't find one." 

"Yes, sir." 

Latham returned without having found a horseshoer. Later 
in the day, Lt. Eugene Foxworth, the generaPs aide, called 
Pedersen on the telephone. A Korean blacksmith had been 
found in a village not far from the division CP. The next day 
Latham loaded his recruit into the trailer and drove to the 
village, as directed by Foxworth. He found the Korean, who 
was eager to earn his fee. He spoke to Reckless in Korean. 
Apparently she understood the words, but did not much like 
his hand. 

Latham followed the two into a small hut where the horse- 
shoer tied Reckless to a center pole. The fellow was brusque 
and rough. When he tried to look at her feet, she would have 
none of him. The cobbler yanked her head around and 
snubbed her closer. 

Latham said sharply, "Take it easy, Mac!" 

The man smiled. He brought out a chain with which he 
was going to tie her down. This was too much. Reckless 
began to rear and kick. The cobbler flew out the door. As 
Latham rushed to her side to calm her the center pole gave 
way and crashed down on his head. He fell to the floor 


When he crawled from under the debris the Korean was 
sitting to one side, nursing his bruises. The hut was a wreck. 
When she saw Latham emerge, she walked directly to him. 
He loaded her into the trailer and they returned to Changdan. 

That night the Marines sat around and talked of Reckless 
and laughed over the way she had kicked the Korean black- 
smith out of the hutch. And it might be said the story lost 
no facet of glitter in the polishing. They were proud of her 
and hoped, desperately, they could stay proud of her when 
she first came under enemy fire. 

Latham did what he could to trim her feet and tighten her 
shoes. If Reckless would have nothing to do with local cob- 
blers, she would have to wait until there was time to drive 
into Seoul. There must be someone at her old home on the 
race track who could handle her. 

The pack saddle arrived from California and serious work 
began. After experimenting and making certain adaptations, 
it was found that six rounds were the simplest load to secure. 
That number did not appear to burden Reckless unduly. 
With adjustments, eight and ten rounds could be carried, but 
Pedersen ruled such a load would only be carried in the most 
urgent situations. Reckless accepted the pack and load with- 
out qualm or protest and appeared to delight in roaming the 
hills with her friends. 

After one particularly difficult trial run, the return to camp 
was made as the truck arrived from the Division PX. On a 
sudden inspiration, Latham poured a coca cola into helmet. 
Reckless drank it thirstily, eagerly. She nuzzled for more 
when it was gone. 

"Hey! D'ja see that? Reckless likes coke." 

"What's so funny about that? She likes anything we've 
given her so far." 

"Better not give her any more until we check with the 


Doc Mitchell considered the question* "Not more'n a 
couple of bottles a day. The carbonated water might not be 
good for her kidneys.'* 

The platoon was assigned a fire mission into Hedy's 
Crotch. The company facing on this sector had detected 
trenches being dug. The Recoilless Rifles would delay the 
enemy building program. It was decided that Reckless was 
ready for her baptism of fire. 

The distance from Changdan to the shooting site was two 
and a half miles. The first portion of the way was shielded by 
the spine of hills which run eastward from Hill 229. At the 
destroyed hamlet of Kwakchon a turn to the north led onto 
a road that was narrow and rutted. A portion of this was 
navigable. The final five hundred yards to the ridge line was 
a steep, breathtaking drag on foot. 

Of further interest to the move into firing positions was a 
six hundred yard portion of the so called road north of 
Kwakchon. This section was under enemy observation from 
towering Yoke. Depending on the Chinese mood of the mo- 
ment, the road was brought under fire when the enemy ob- 
servers saw too much traffic moving northward on it. While 
not many hits were recorded, the passage over this stretch 
did lend a degree of anticipatory breathlessness. 

Pedersen spaced his vehicles at ten minute intervals so as 
not to alarm the trigger-fingered enemy. The first vehicle 
carried the weapon and the squad, the next bore Reckless and 
her trailer, while the last brought the ammunition. The pas- 
sage of the exposed road was made without incident. Sergeant 
Ralph Sherman and his gun crew began the stiff climb with 
the heavy weapon. 

Reckless scrambled from the trailer and nudged Latham 
for a piece of chocolate. 

"No pogey bait 'til this is over," he told her. Six rounds of 
high explosive (HE) were secured to the pack and Latham 


gave her a slap of encouragement. "Okay, Reckless, we'll 
soon know if you're a Marine or a mouse." 

"She ain't going to get shook, Sarge," Coleman promised. 
He took the lead rope in hand and began the climb. They 
soon overtook the gun crew, Sherman directed Coleman to 
off-load at the first firing position and to return to the truck 
for another load. Pedersen and Berry had preceded the party 
and were on the ridge line searching out targets with the in- 
fantry commander. 

Experience had shown it took from four to six minutes for 
the enemy to react to a sighting and begin counterfire. The 
tactic of the gun crew was fire and movement. When the 
gun was set in and target established, the weapon would be 
fired four to five times. This was done with speed and pre- 
cision. Then the weapon was displaced to a new position 
while enemy counterfire fell in the area of the recently aban- 
doned site. This procedure would be followed from second, 
third and fourth nring seat. Hopscotch shooting of this nature 
continued until the mission was deemed accomplished. 

It was only natural the Marine infantry manning the line 
did not cheer the appearance of a reckless gun crew. It meant 
they would be recipients of incoming thrown at the telltale 
dust and smoke of the weapon's back blast. It was a dividend 
of Chinese hate the infantrymen would rather not receive. 
Sometime, by ill luck, the enemy did guess the maneuver cor- 
rectly, with tragic results to the gun crew. It was only when 
they had the protection of the corridor and holy circle of 
Panmunjom that they could sit still and shoot it out. 

Speed and teamwork were the key to a successful shoot. 
It was breathless, scrambling work over the difficult terrain 
and in the excitement of the moment the little red horse was 
forgotten. Coleman had delivered his first load and was re- 
turning with the second when Sherman opened fire. 

"Wham-whoosh!" the hills bellowed and rocketed with 
the roar. Behind the weapon spurted a flume of dust. Though 


weighted down with sis shells, Reckless left the ground with 
all four feet ... her eyes went white. 

"Take it easy, Reckless," Coleman begged. 

"Wham-whoosh!" Sherman was on target and driving 
them home. 

Reckless went into the air again, but not quite so far. More 
soft talk from Coleman. She snorted and shook her head to 
stop the ringing in her ears. 


She shook as the concussive blast of air struck her, but she 
did not rear. She stood closer to Coleman, trembling slightly, 
but the white was gone from her eyes. She began to take an 
interest in the actions of the gun crew. 

"Wham-whoosh! " Her reaction was litde more than a jerk 
of her head. 

"Let's go!" Guido, the section leader, shouted. It was time 
to displace the weapon. 

With the precision of a professional quarterback, Sherman 
directed his gun crew. The shift to the new position was 
made with Reckless and Coleman at their heels. The six 
rounds she carried were off-loaded and down the steep hill 
the pair went for another load. Enemy incoming, a site be- 
hind, began to blast and rocket on the ridge line. This new 
diversion caused her to sweat more than the climb and load 
warranted. A thin line of lather showed under the pack 

Latham joined them. He ran his hand down her wet neck. 
"You're all right, Reckless." She rubbed against him and he 
roughed her about the ears. This took her mind from the roar 
of the gun and the blast of incoming and she calmed. 

Five times Reckless and Coleman negotiated the rugged 
hillside with ammunition. During the last series of shots she 
stood a short distance from the gun picking around in the 
sparse grass for something edible. 

The weapon was displaced into defiladed position down 


the hillside. For the first time the gun crew had an oppor- 
tunity to consider the deportment of their friend. 

"How'd she do, Coleman?" Guido asked. 

"The first couple of times she took off, straight up. I'll 
bet she went eight feet into the air on the first one. After 
that she got used to it." 

"What about the incoming?" 

"Made her sweat some," 

"Who doesn't sweat?" 

"On that last firing position,' 7 Latham told them, "she 
wasn't more'n forty feet away when you fired. Know what 
she was doing? She was tryin' to eat an old helmet liner she 
found in a hole." 

"Where's that character and all his mule talk? We'll make 
him eat those words." 

"Make him eat the mule." 

Reckless rode back to camp in high style. Because the day 
had turned warm and the hill so steep, Latham offered her a 
can of beer. She drank it and asked for more. 

That night it rained. A cold, sweeping rain of late Decem- 
ber. Though Reckless' bunker was rain proof, she became 
restless. Perhaps her ears still rang from the blasting of the 
rifle. She left her bunker and made her way into the staff 
NCO tent. Latham, O'Rourke and Mull greeted her warmly. 
Latham wiped her dry and covered her with a blanket. In no 
time at all was in a head-nodding sleep beside the stove. 
She was one of them. She was a Marine who had been under 
enemy fire. 


J.HE PLATOON lost a friend when Gentleman was transferred 
to the division staff, but gained a new one with the arrival 
of Lt. Col. Edwin Wheeler to command the First. The ag- 
gressive tactics of carrying the war to the enemy went un- 
changed. There were periodic shellings of Kamon-dong and 
the trenches nearby; there were missions to fire in and about 
Hedy, and there was always Bunker. Besides the targets in 
the First Battalion sector, there were equally lucrative ones 
to the right where the Second Battalion faced on outposts 
Reno, Carson and Vegas. So the men of the platoon and 
their horse roved the line from Panmunjom to the Samchon 

Late in November the request came through for another 
shoot into enemy positions from Bunker. This was always a 
nervy assignment in that the enemy reacted with greater alac- 
rity and fierceness than anywhere else along the line. 

Gentleman had reasoned, "Luke is mighty touchy around 
Bunker. He doesn't like it when we shoot him up. Whenever 
you find something he doesn't like, keep giving it to him." 

Wheeler adopted this policy. Pedersen chose section leader 


Guido and Sherman's squad to make the shoot To reach 
Bunker, which was four hundred meters in front of the line, 
entailed the usual passage through wire and some stiff climb- 
ing. Pedersen decided to leave Reckless behind on this occa- 
sion mainly because of the wire. Bunker was situated on a 
rugged land mass that also held Hedy five hundred meters 
to the southwest. From this outpost named for the historic 
battleground, the Marines could look into the valleys behind 
glowering Yoke . . . and the Chinese always were sensitive to 
having people look into their backyards. 

Guido and Sherman got the gun set in and Pedersen se- 
lected the target. The tactic of fire and movement was be- 
gun. Enemy reaction was more fierce than usual. Incoming 
began to rain onto the ridge line. The Chinese made no 
attempt at precision counter battery fire, but blanketed the 
whole area. Pedersen was wounded in the hip and leg by a 
near mortar blast. Wheeler called off the fire mission and the 
squad assisted their leader back to the main line and into the 
battalion aid station. Pedersen had his wounds dressed, but 
refused evacuation. Late in the afternoon he rejoined the unit 
at Changdan. 

Each evening at 7:00 there is a briefing in the division CR 
At such meetings various members of the General's staff re- 
count the activities of his section for the preceding twenty- 
four hours. On this evening Colonel Russell Honsowetz, di- 
vision operations officer, described the action on Bunker. He 
concluded that portion of his report by saying, "The enemy 
appeared to be more sensitive than usual in the Bunker area. 
His counterfire was accurate and intense. Lt. Pedersen, the 
Recoilless Rifle Platoon leader, was wounded." 

Later in the briefing when Colonel Sidney Kelly reported 
on personnel, he informed Pollock, "This is the third wound 
for Pedersen." 

The General's reaction was as spontaneous as that of the 


Chinese earlier in the day. He told Kelly, "Get him out of 
there. Transfer him out of combat." 

After the briefing, Kelly telephoned Srnoak. "The Gen- 
eral wants Pedersen of your antitank company transferred 
out of combat. Send him up here for reassignment." 

Checklou notified Pedersen that he was being relieved and 
to report to regiment in the morning. Unaware of what had 
transpired at the division briefing, the young troop com- 
mander spent a worrisome night. His wounds, still in the 
throbbing stage, caused further distress. 

This meant a double loss to the platoon. They would not 
only lose an officer whom they respected, but they would 
also lose Reckless. Of the two it must be admitted the loss of 
the horse was the greater. Another Marine officer would re- 
place Pedersen; perhaps he would not have Pedersen's skill 
and temperament, but good or bad, officers could be borne. 
Life without Reckless was another matter. 

A meeting was called by Mull and Latham. 

"There's not much we can do about it," Latham explained. 
"Reckless is his horse. He paid for her. If he wants to take 
her, we're dead." 

Mull added, "The Lieutenant will be fair. He'll think of 
Reckless and us before he does himself. Here's what we 
oughta do. Take up a collection and pay him back." 

In a short time enough money was collected to repay the 
officer. From the deep shadows along the tent wall a new 
thought was voiced, "There's one thing we're forgetting." 

"What's that?" 

"Reckless. Maybe she'd like to get out of combat too. Did 
anybody ever think of that?" 

"Aw, she likes it up here!" 

"If she does, she ought to have her head examined." 

The platoon had not considered the mood or character of 
Pedersen. The young officer had no intention of being re- 


lieved of his platoon without taking the matter up with higher 
authority. He requested and was granted permission to speak 
with the regimental commander. Colonel Smoak was consid- 
erate and impressed, but there was nothing he could do. The 
order had come down from Division. He gave Pedersen per- 
mission to plead his cause with General Pollock. 

Pedersen telephoned Major Charles Lamb, division adju- 
tant and an old friend. 

He told Lamb, "Charlie, they're trying to transfer me be- 
cause I got nicked the other day. I think they're treating me 
like a Boy Scout. All I want to do is stay with my platoon. 
Can you fix it up so I can see General Pollock? " 

Lamb said he would try to arrange a meeting. 

Lamb went to the General's van. 

"Sir, Lieutenant Eric Pedersen of the 5th Antitank Com- 
pany has requested permission to see the General" 

"What's it about, Charlie?" 

"The order transferring him out of combat. Pedersen wants 
to stay with his platoon." Lamb smiled, "He thinks he's being 
treated like a Boy Scout." 

"He does, eh!" Pollock smiled. "Any of his wounds carried 
over from the last war?" 

"No, sir. All Korean." 

"What's his background, Charlie." 

"Thirty-two, married and two children. His father was a 
gun designer. Invented the Pedersen Device which made the 
old 03 Springfield a semiautomatic weapon. Eric had good 
schooling . . . lived in England for a number of years when 
his father was with the Vickers Company. Spent most of his 
life in and around Jackson's Hole, Wyoming and Prescott, 
Arizona. Loves horses." 

"I suppose that accounts for Reckless." 

"Yes, sir. Eric enlisted in the Marine Corps when he was 
eighteen; was a captain at the end of World War IL He left 


the Corps for a time. When, he came back in, the pinch was 
on and the best he could get was Chief Warrant. Now he's 
back to first lieutenant." 

General Pollock, a veteran of Guadalcanal, Saipan and Iwo 
Jima, knew the loyalties that build up in a man for a group 
of men. It was stronger in combat and with small unit com- 
manders. He also knew that, all too often, it was the willing 
and eager who were killed. He came to a decision. 

"Have him in tomorrow morning." 

"Yes, sir." 

The next morning Lamb ushered his friend into the Gen- 
eral's quarters and departed. 

"Sir, I request that my orders be changed and that I be 
allowed to stay with my platoon." 

"I think any man who has received three wounds should 
be taken out of combat. Is there any reason why I should 
make an exception in your case, Pedersen?" 

"None that are sound, sir. I just want to stay with my 

"Reckless have anything to do with this?" 

"Yes, sir, in a way. If I leave and take her with me it will 
be a blow to the platoon. If I leave her behind, it will be a 
double loss to me . . . losing her and the platoon." 

"All right, Pedersen, return to your platoon. I'll have your 
orders changed." Pollock smiled, "I don't want my junior 
officers thinking they're being treated like Boy Scouts." 

Pedersen gulped and reddened. "Thank you, sir." 

"Thank Reckless. I don't feel like forcing a decision of 
Solomon on you at this time. By the way, is she as good 
under fire as I hear she is?" 

"Yes, sir. She got used to it a lot quicker than some Marines 
I know. The first day she might have panicked, but she fig- 
ured out we knew what we were doing. Nothing shakes her 



"One of these days we should promote her to corporal. I 
assume she made PFC in boot camp." 1 

"Yes, sir. My gunnery sergeant says she's qualified for 

"Good. Let me know. If I can get away I'd like to be at 
the formation." 

"Yes, sir." 

After Pedersen left, Pollock called Lamb on the telephone. 
"The 5th Marines are going into reserve in a few days any- 
way, Charlie, so let Pedersen stay with his outfit for the 

Pedersen called on Gentleman. 

"Hello, Eric. I was expecting you'd drop by. I heard about 
your being relieved at the briefing last night. Too bad. Your 
platoon will miss you." 

"I just saw the General He's going to let me stay." 

"That's swell, boy. If there's anything I can do to help 
you, let me know." 

"Thanks, Colonel." 

Carter was waiting outside Gentleman's tent. Pedersen 
climbed into the jeep with some difficulty. Carter swung the 
machine about and headed for Changdan. Before they ar- 
rived, the darkness had grown complete and all that could 
be seen were the two thin lights of the jeep. Carter let Peder- 
sen out and hurried to Latham's tent. 

"Mister Pedersen's staying. The general knocked off the 

Latham smiled. "Find Reckless. This deserves a drink. I've 
been savin' a coke for her." 

They found her at the galley having a late snack of half 
a loaf of bread with strawberry jam. By this rime she had 
learned to drink from a glass and the coke came at the right 
time for bread always made her thirsty. Later she went to 
Latham's tent and dozed by the stove while he wrote letters 


That night Pedersen wrote his wife: 

So many things have happened to me since I last wrote that 
I don't know where to start. I was relieved of my platoon and 
was told to report to Colonel Smoak. I didn't know why and 
didn't find out until I had seen the Colonel. 

Orders had been issued to remove me from the lines because 
I had been wounded three times. Col. Smoak couldn't do any- 
thing about it so I had to see Gen. Pollock. He let me go back 
to my platoon! So-o-o, I'm back with my outfit. For a while 
it looked like I was going to be sent to the "rear with the gear," 

PFC Arnold Baker had been assigned second companion to 
Reckless so that if anything happened to Coleman, he could 
take over the full duty. A sectioji had been assigned to a mis- 
sion on the right flank in support of Kurth's Fox Company 
of the Second. Reckless went along and a temporary pasture 
was set up for her in a valley known to the Koreans as 
Hwajon-dong, and was shielded from the enemy by 
Hill 114. In this particular sector, jeeps and trucks could 
reach points close to firing sites, so that Reckless was forced 
into a period of unemployment. 

It was during this phase that Baker decided his friend was 
not getting enough exercise. Conveniently forgetting Peder- 
sen's order against anyone riding her, Baker led her from 
the pasture and, in the best style of John Wayne, swung onto 
her back. 

From that moment events were blurred as Reckless took 
off at a full run. Baker tugged on the halter rope and yelled, 
"Whoa! Reckless, Whoa!" This only spurred her on. He 
thought of throwing himself from her back and letting her go 
it alone, but decided against such action when he thought of 
facing Latham. He twined his fingers in her mane and hung 
on grimly. Come what might, he was committed to staying 
with her. 

She was a darting shadow crossing the paddy west of the 
pasture. When she sped by the tank laager and took the road 


leading to the main line, Baker became frantic. He tugged 
furiously on the rope. 

"Not that way!" Reckless responded with more speed. It 
was the first good run she had had since joining the Marines 
and she dug in with an exuberance that made her a red blur 
in the afternoon light. 

To Reckless it was a delightful outing. The road was 
nearly level with an easy cushion, and the air was fresh and 
keen. She lengthened her stride as though she would run to 
Manchuria. Baker groaned. The road chosen by the little 
horse passed through the barbed wire entanglements at a 
"gate" from which patrols issued at night. During the day 
a sentry with a field telephone handy kept watch; at night a 
squad took positions to permit exit and entry of patrols. Be- 
yond the gate were the fruit orchards and flowers of a lush 
countryside; shortly north of the orchards lay the mine- 
fields through which ran narrow, prescribed lanes for the 
patrols. Safe passageways to the knowing and wary, but dan- 
gerous to the heedless. 

Just warming to her run, Reckless flashed through the gate. 
The sentry let out a yell and cranked on the telephone: 
"Reckless is loose! She's through the gate an' heading for 
Unggok . . ." 

Passing the orchard the road was downhill and Reckless 
approached the speed of sound as she swept into the paddy 
land between outposts Ava and Corinne. The lookouts on 
Hill 120, on Ava and Corinne reported her flashing progress. 
Doubtlessly, the Chinese on mighty, towering Taedok-Song 
saw her, too, and wondered what Marine trick this might be. 

Latham heard and bounded into a jeep and was away on a 
snarl of tires. 

High above and six hundred meters to the east the Marines 
of Fox Company saw her. They began to shout in despera- 

"Go back, Reckless! Go back." 


"Let's shoot in front of her, maybe that'll turn her." 

"Too dangerous." 

"Who's that on her?" 

"Can't make him out." 

"Wait'll Latham gets hold of him." 

Then, as though enough running was enough, Reckless 
made a gentle looping turn in the minefield while half a thou- 
sand Marines watched and prayed. A long sigh like a spring 
wind in the trees passed the length of the line as the little 
horse galloped back past the orchard and through the gate. 

Blowing nicely and in a fine sweat, she swept along until 
meeting up with Latham. With ears pricking and eyes aglow 
she went to her friend and told him what a great run she 
had just had. Ashen-faced and limp, Baker slid from her back. 

Marine platoon sergeants have their own way of taking 
care of thoughtless young men who disobey orders. 

The 5th Marines were relieved and moved into positions 
in division reserve. It grew colder and there was snow, but 
not nearly so much as the winter before when the Marines 
had been on the eastern front. Reckless grew a heavier coat 
and it came out more chestnut than sorrel. While there was 
no ammunition to carry, there was a new job of stringing 
communication wire. With reels of wire on her pack, she 
could string more telephone wire in a day than ten Marines. 

Being in division reserve meant that the ist and yth Regi- 
ments were in the line and the 5th in positions where either 
line regiment could be reinforced in case of need. It also 
meant a relaxing of tension and time for recreation. One eve- 
ning Mull, Latham, O'Rourke and Parker visited an Aus- 
tralian unit down the road a few miles. The Marines and the 
Commonwealth Division got on in famous style and when- 
ever groups of them got together it was a signal for singing and 

The Australians had heard of Reckless and were interested 


in her behavior under fire. Before Latham and the others 
were through with the telling of it, their hosts were con- 
vinced the little horse had whipped the Chinese single footed. 
One of the Australians was so impressed he presented his hat 
to be given to Reckless. Anyone who has seen Australian 
troops will know their hats are distinctive and that such a 
present was of value. 

It was a happy time. On the way home the Marines sang 
one of their favorite songs, to the tune of London Bridge Is 
Falling Down 

Mushee, Mushee, eno nay 

Eno nay) eno nay, 
Mushee, Tnushee, eno nay 

Ah so, desca. 

There were other songs learned during the Korean war 
such as, When the Ice Is on the Rice in Southern Honshu. 
And there was the new one they had just learned from the 
Hark! Hark! 
The herald angel sings 
And Wally Simpson 
Stole our King. 

By the time the foursome arrived in camp it was late, but 
they awakened Reckless to show her the gift. By cutting 
holes on either side, it fit quite well. Reckless yawned her 
way through this tomfoolery and that made them laugh that 
much more. 

Pat O'Rourke was not pleased with the hat on Reckless. "I 
don't like it, Joe," he told Latham. "I don't think it's digni- 
fied. A hat like that's something for the likes of that Army 
mule Francis to wear. He's a clown . . . Reckless ain't. 5 ' 

On more sober thought the others were inclined to agree. 
They decided that she would wear it only when she was in 
the immediate circle of the platoon. It was good for a laugh 


and with her close friends she would not be embarrassed. 
After a while, they went to bed. 

From time to time Reckless was forced to wear the Aus- 
tralian hat, though she never did care for it. She agreed with 
O'Rourke that it was not dignified, besides, it tickled her 
ears. Something had to be done and she did it. Coleman left 
the hat hanging on a nail in the bunker. That settled the mat- 
ter. The next morning all that could be found was the sweat- 
band, a short piece of rim and half the crown. Fearful they 
might reblock it if she just tore it up, she had eaten enough 
to prevent any attempt of reclamation. 

It was not so many nights kter that Reckless was cause 
for a minor crisis among members of the platoon. It might 
have caused an internal rupture which could have affected 
the effectiveness of the unit. 

It was a particularly cold night. A raw and bitter wind 
swept down from the Manchurian mountains and formed an 
ice sheeting on the Imjin River. It was much too cold to be 
out unless forced by the circumstance of having the watch 
or sentry post. Even the cheeriness of an evening with the 
Aussies was not enticement enough to face up to the jeep 
ride to get there. Units not facing the enemy, buttoned up 
early, turned the stove adjuster knob to 6 and settled down 
to a night at home camp. 

Some wrote letters, some read and others computed the 
likely dates of rotation back to the United States. This latter 
was a pastime practiced by all, but enjoyed by none as the 
time to remain in Korea always seemed longer on paper than 
in the mental calculation. Latham and a few of his friends be- 
came involved in a poker game. Old hands at this military 
method of passing time and money, it proceeded with a min- 
imum of talk. It was a cozy scene until Reckless stuck her 
nose into the overlap of the tent opening and proceeded to fol- 
low her nose inside. This created a stir as the wild wind 
swooped into the tent. 


Latham sprang to close the canvas hole while Mull urged 
Reckless to a spot near the stove where she would not inter- 
fere with the game. Reckless let them know it was cold out- 
side by a chilled blast from her hoarfrost-rimmed nostrils. 

"Fm sorry, Reckless," Latham apologized for his seeming 
neglect, "I thought you were with Coleman and Carter." 

He wiped the wind tears from her eyes, threw a blanket 
over her shoulders and turned the adjuster knob to 8. The 
potbellied stove sighed at a faster tempo. 

"Let's go, Joe," Mull urged a return to the game as he dealt 
the cards. 

Latham took his seat at the makeshift table. Mull, the 
dealer and game cashier, sat across from him. O'Rourke was 
on his right hand with S/Sgt. LaBarge on his left. Between 
LaBarge and Mull was T/Sgt. Parker. It was a sound, Marine- 
type poker game of dealer's choice between draw or stud 
with no wild cards. 

The deal passed from man to man, poker chips clicked and 
clacked, cigarette smoke swirled and followed the heated 
stovepipe upwards into the peak and drained off slowly. The 
paunch of the stove glowed red, and without taking has eyes 
from the cards Latham turned the knob back to 6. Warm 
again, Reckless became interested in the game. She moved 
into a position directly behind Latham and peered over his 
shoulder. Engrossed in the game, the sergeant reacted to hav- 
ing someone standing behind him until he realized who it was. 

"Whatta you think, Reckless, worth a bet?" He bet with- 
out awaiting an answer. All passed excepting Mull, who 
looked across the table and into the little mare's face as 
though seeking a hint from her. He called and lost. 

The game went on with an interruption being caused when 
Reckless tried to eat a package of cigarettes at Latham's 

"Hey, Reckless, knock it off." He retrieved a shredded 


"Nicotine isn't good for horses," O'Rourke observed. 

"Your bet," Parker told LaBarge. 

Latham won three hands in a row and Reckless became en- 
grossed in the growing stack of chips. She leaned over her 
friend's shoulder and took up a mouthful of blues. 

"Hey!" Latham tried desperately to retrieve a portion of 
his wealth. The others laughed and laughed with little sym- 
pathy for the winner. Latham was able to salvage two whole 
chips and several pieces, but it was obvious Reckless had 
eaten several. 

"Don't worry, Joe," Parker consoled, "those chips are 
made of plastic; they won't hurt her." 

"I know that, but she must've eaten thirty bucks' worth." 

"That's tough, Joe," Mull grinned. "I only pay off for 
whole chips." 

The game broke up in argument as to how many blue 
chips Reckless had or had not eaten. She soon tired of the 
bickering and moved back to her place nearer the stove. 
O'Rourke summed up the whole thing as he crawled into his 
sleeping bag, "At least she goes first class, only eating the 
blue ones." 

To this day, Latham figures Reckless owes him thirty dol- 
lars . . . maybe more. 

Christmas came to Korea and Reckless never had such a 
ball in her life. There was candy, apples, carrots, cake, cola 
and an occasional beer, until she began to think hay was 
something to paw around and lie down on. 

Doc Mitchell protested the rich fare. 

"First thing you know," he warned Latham, "she'll be 
breaking out with hives or something." 

"Christmas comes only once a year. She'll work it off as 
soon as we get back on the line." 


JLHIRTY DAYS IN RESERVE and the 5th Marines moved back 
into the line. Once again Reckless' regiment would face the 
enemy, but from a different sector. This time they would 
move to the east and relieve the yth Regiment on the battle 
positions supporting the combat outposts East Berlin, Berlin, 
Vegas, Reno and Carson with smaller Ava farther to the 

The 5th Marines were moving onto a battleground which 
would bring new glories to its colors, but would add many 
names to the final roll before it 'was done. And Reckless went 
to battle with her regiment and performed in a manner to 
earn the love and esteem of a corps of men to whom bravery 
is the rule rather than the exception. 

For the little red horse the days of pampering were over. 
She carried pack load on pack load of equipment into the 
lines. There were small arms ammunition, grenades, rations, 
sleeping bags and communication wire to move forward. 
There was barbed wire for her own pasture. 

Inasmuch as the yth Marines had not had the foresight 
to enlist a horse, no accommodations, such as a pasture or 



horse bunker, could be expected. Whether nightfall found 
her forward or to the rear in the company CP area, she 
seemed content with whatever arrangements could be made 
for her comfort and safety. During the early phase of the 
exchange, if she were caught forward when darkness fell, 
she ate C rations and bedded down in the handiest position 
in defilade. While forward, if the incoming became heavy, 
the Marines in the immediate vicinity would shed flak jackets 
and cover her from head to tail. This meant, of course, that 
the donors went without the protection of the jackets. 

The command frowned on such practice, but no orders 
were issued to put a stop to it. By this time the little horse 
was so firmly entrenched in the aff ections of the Marines that 
it is unlikely such an order would have been obeyed. To the 
rear, in the company CP area, an old dugout had been cleaned 
out and made available for occupancy. Here, too, the horse 
feed was brought forward from Changdan. 

From the Imjin to the battle positions, the little horse met 
many Marines of her regiment she had not seen before. Here- 
tofore she had worked mainly with the ist Battalion. Now 
she was to live and fight with the zd. And so she came to 
know the men of this unit as well as she did those of the ist. 
As it turned out, the 2d was to become her favorite and the 
friends she made in this outfit were to have an important in- 
fluence on the rest of her Hf e. 

Pedersen came to realize, sadly, that he was losing Reckless. 
She was no longer his, nor did she belong to the platoon. 
She had become a Marine, adopted by a regiment of Marines. 
In time, as she became known, she would be the pride of the 
Division . . . and the Corps. He knew that when he was trans- 
ferred, as one day he must be, he could not take her with 
him. So as not to serve as a reminder of his wounds and long 
service with the platoon, he kept away from the regimental 
CP as much as possible. 

Limping from wounds that were still unhealed, Pedersen 


established his command post not far from that of Fox Com- 
pany of the id. A pasture was found in a valley that once had 
sheltered the farm hamlet of Panggi-dong. All that was left 
now of the once prosperous settlement were a few burned- 
out shells of huts. The air about them was heavy with the 
stench of old straw and living things that had only half 
burned in the fire that destroyed the village. 

The main battle positions were four hundred meters to the 
north of the feeding grounds, but the pasture was masked 
from enemy observation and direct fire by a spur of Hill 120. 
This section of Korea was covered with tumbled-down, 
rocky hills without the stature to be called mountains. They 
were the foothills leading into the north-south spine of moun- 
tains that bisects Korea. 

The pasture, bearing poor winter feed, was within easy 
mortar range of the Chinese who were in the habit of lobbing 
exploratory rounds into such pockets. Without aerial observa- 
tion to correct or direct the fire, it was blind shooting. To 
guard against such danger, the platoon built an open-faced 
bunker, the opening to the friendly south, in which Reckless 
could take shelter if the incoming did become too severe. 

The Ammunition Supply Point (ASP) from which Reck- 
less would fill her pack with high explosive charges, was three 
hundred meters south and east of the pasture. As with all 
ammunition dumps, it was tucked away in defiladed position 
behind a sharp finger of an open canyon. The trail leading 
to the ASP from the pasture was an easy grade bordering 
what had once been a rice paddy. Two hundred meters of 
this, then a sharp swing to the left and the climb was made to 
cross the finger and drop sharply into the box canyon. 

S/Sgt. John Lisenby established firing positions for his gun 
section on the ridge line fingers and spurs of Hill 120. These 
sites were east and north of the pasture and overlooked the 
MLR and from them the rifles could fire in direct support 
of East Berlin and Berlin, and into enemy held strong points 


known to Marines as Detroit and Frisco. (It is altogether 
possible the Chinese called them Canton and Shanghai.) Most 
important, though, was that Lisenby's weapons could reach 
out and fire into enemy held Hills 153 and 190, which faced 
on Outpost Vegas. When the battle was in doubt, this was to 
be of prime importance. 

The route of Reckless from the pasture to the ASP has 
been described. The return to the firing sites involved the 
stiff, shoulder-hunching climb out of the canyon followed by 
the four-footed breaking on the descent onto the paddy trail, 
a right turn and the easy trail skirting the pasture. Two hun- 
dred yards east of feeding area there was a stiff, narrow, 
twisting trail rising at a 45 degree angle to the first ridge line 
of Hill 120. Reckless preferred to meet this obstacle with 
a racing start. With shell canisters threatening to jump from 
their rope moorings, she would charge the hill, Coleman hav- 
ing cast her free to make her own speed. She would just make 
the top in her final lunge and stand breathing heavily until 
her guide scrambled to her side. Usually she took off as she 
saw him nearing the top and made her way without guidance 
to one of the guns. The gun crew would see her coming and 
would call out to her. It was seldom that circumstances were 
so adverse or tense that someone didn't have a piece of hard 
candy for her. As far as she was concerned, the tinfoil- 
wrapped hard candy was the best part of C rations. All the 
way back to the ASP she would suckle on it. 

Sgt. Leon Dubois' zd Section was assigned the area be- 
hind the MLR facing on outpost Carson in the sector of the 
ist Battalion. Being nearly five thousand meters east from 
Reckless' pasture (longer by the lateral road net) , it was im- 
possible for her to service this weapon. S/Sgt. Harry Bolin's 
3d Section was even farther away in the Ava outpost area, so 
that Lisenby and his section came to look upon Reckless as 
their own. 

Naturally, Dubois and Bolin felt slighted and found pas- 


tores and dreamed up multiple reasons why Reckless should 
be assigned to them. Pedersen, however, was playing no fav- 
orites. Lisenby's gun positions could not be approached by 
vehicle, as could the others, and it would kill Marines to man- 
pack the ammunition onto Hill 120. 

The winter feed in the pasture was poor and, at the time, 
it was not feasible to make trips south of the Imjin to buy 
hay and grain from Korean fanners. Reckless was not doing 
well. The slim pickings in the pasture and C rations were not 
enough. Her barrel began to show signs of thin grass and no 
grain. Latham's paternal eye noted her condition at once. 
There was only one answer. He took the long trail to Lisen- 
by's gun sites. 

He said to the section leader, "Reckless is getting gaunt. 
I'll bet she's dropped fifty pounds. We've got to do some- 
thing about it." 

"We are-" 


"There's a section of Marines I know that are going to be- 
come grass pullers. On the side hills where it hasn't been 
trampled by tanks and trucks and Marines, there's still some 
pretty good grass. Each of us'll pull an armload a day until 
we get her some feed from across the Imjin." 

"Okay. I'll get vitamin pills from Doc Mitchell and feed 
her those. They'll help." 

Reckless did not take kindly to the pills. For the first time 
she looked with suspicion upon something to eat. Latham was 
firm, however, and was force feeding her the pills one by one 
when he noted that her tongue was swollen. He called Doc 
Mitchell into hurried conference. Mitchell prescribed ter- 
ramycin. Within a week the swelling went down. 

One day Colonel Lew Walt, new commander of the 5th 
Marines, was trooping the line in the Fox Company sector. 
On the slopes of Hill 120 he saw Marines on hands and knees 
pulling grass. After twenty-three years in the Corps, with a 


distinguished record of combat from Guadalcanal to Korea, 
he was intrigued. 

"What are those men doing?" he asked. 

"Pulling grass for Reckless, They haven't been able to get 
feed north of the Imjin and her pasture's pretty poor. Each 
man in the squad takes her some grass as he goes to chow at 

Walt made a mental note that the next truck south of the 
river would return with feed for Reckless. He knew he had 
succeeded to a fine regiment, but he also knew he had in- 
herited something special in this little red pony. He had seen 
her on the trails loaded with equipment while doing the work 
of ten men; he had been told of Marines shedding their flak 
jackets to cover her during heavy bombardments. This little 
horse was becoming as important to his men as the sight of 
another horse, Traveler, had been to the fighting men of the 
Army of Virginia. 

Reckless did not suffer from lack of food for long. PFC 
Booker T, Crew, a recent arrival to the platoon, had occa- 
sion to drop by the regimental command post. He stopped in 
the galley to see an old friend. When he left he had a crate 
of Wheaties and several boxes of graham crackers. From then 
until the truck arrived from south of the river, Reckless ate 
hand-plucked grass, Wheaties, graham crackers, vitamin pills 
and the hard candy from C rations. Despite the long hours 
tramping the hills, she began to put on weight. 

At this time the ist and ad Battalions of the 5th Marines 
were in the line, with the 3d in reserve. Under the resolute 
leadership of Walt, a series of daylight raids were initiated 
against the enemy. The purposes of these raids were to check 
the "creepirig" offensive of the CCF toward Marine main 
battle positions and to capture prisoners in order to improve 
the intelligence on enemy intentions. 

In the spirit of an aggressive warrior, Walt presented his 
reasons for jihese raids: "Daylight operations offer several 


advantages over night raids. First and foremost, we can apply 
the full weight of our combined arms in support of the raid- 
ing infantry units. Good conditions of visibility will enable 
us to exploit our greatest advantage over the CCF-our Ma- 
rine close air support means. Too, our artillery and mortars 
can employ observed fires, which will be highly effective 
against enemy units trying to reinforce cut-off comrades; 
daylight conditions will enable us to employ our gun and 
flame tanks with the maneuvering infantry in accordance 
with our tank-infantry doctrines. When we want to create 
conditions of limited visibility over portions of the battle 
area to inhibit the enemy's observations, we can use smoke- 
delivered according to plan by aircraft, artillery and mortars/' 

General Pollock agreed with the concept of his regimental 
commander and the plans were made and units went into re- 
hearsal. Raid "TEX" was to be the first in the new year of 
1953. It was designed to hit the enemy on Hill 139, which 
lay north of outpost Berlin and occupied an extension of the 
same hill mass. A reinforced rifle platoon led by Lt. Tom 
Bulger from Dog Company conducted the raid. It was a suc- 
cess and prisoners were taken. From Hill 120 LIsenby's gun 
section was in position to support the raid and for the first 
time Reckless packed ammunition from dawn to dusk and 
was to hear the roar of many weapons. 

Later the same month raid "CLAMBAKE" was designed 
against Unggoc. Remembering the run Reckless had taken 
with Baker in that area, many believed she should lead this 
strike against the Chinese. After all, she was the only Marine 
to have been so far forward of the line in this sector. Clam- 
bake, a company-sized raid, was led by Capt. Don Blanchard. 
Heavy fighting developed during the course of this strike and 
Bolin's gun section to the extreme right did outstanding work 
in providing covering fire for the withdrawing raiders. 

In February, Capt. Dick Kurth's Fox Company struck a 
telling blow against the enemy on a raid known as 


"CHARLIE." The enemy strong point taken under assault 
lay on a hill mass called Detroit, which was directly north of 
Lisenby's gun positions. The range was less than sk hundred 
yards. Kurth's raiders had to cross nearly three hundred yards 
of rice paddy before gaining the approaches to their objec- 
tive. During this passage, which was covered by smoke, Lisen- 
by's guns kept up an intense fire. 

Reckless made twenty-four trips from the ASP to the 
firing sites during the course of the day while packing sk 
rounds a trip. Pedersen estimated she traveled over twenty 
miles and her total carry was thirty-five hundred pounds. 

It was dark before she returned to her pasture bunker. 
For the first time the Marines saw her with head hanging and 
no mischievous nuzzling for candy. 

"She's really bushed," Coleman told Latham. "I didn't 
think she would make it onto the hill that last time. She had 
to make two runs at it, but she wouldn't quit." 

Carter drove Pedersen alongside the bunker. From the back 
of the jeep he brought a bucket of warm bran mash. Reckless 
perked up. She sniffed the mkture and tasted it; she began to 
eat. While she finished her meal the Marines, two on a side, 
gave her a thorough rubdown . . . Native Dancer never re- 
ceived a better one. When they were through, Pedersen cov- 
ered her with a blanket. She was asleep by the time they left. 

All days were not so severe. There were many when there 
were no fire missions and Reckless hung to her pasture and 
fed and drowsed and became restive with the inactivity. Gen- 
eral Pollock stopped by one day and, as always, inspected 
her feet. He found her shoes thin but in fair condition, but 
did not approve of the boots being worn by Coleman, which 
were run over at the heels and had seams that had pulled 
away from the sole. 

He became a bit testy about this. His opinion was un- 
altered when it was explained that Coleman wore such a large 
boot it was virtually impossible to get a size to fit him; there 


wasn't a pair in the regimental supply big enough. The Gen- 
eral told an accompanying staff officer, "I want Coleman to 
have a pair of boots of proper size by tomorrow. 5 ' 

"Yes, sir." 

After the party left, Latham told Coleman, "If "you don't 
get those boots, I'll take you to Seoul and have the Korean 
horseshoer fix you up at the same time he does Reckless." 

"Don't worry," Pedersen advised. "Coleman'll have a pair 
of boots tomorrow." 

Capt. Ted Mildner's company made "ITEM" raid against 
Ungoc (not the same as Unggoc!) in March as spring came 
slowly to Korea. The hillsides and paddies became green and 
spring flowers sprouted over the shell-torn land. Reckless 
thrived. The supply of rations from south of the river was 
stabilized and with the fresh green grass her coat took on a 
new, redder sheen as she lost her winter coat. There was 
little or no ammunition or supplies to carry at the moment 
and she worked off her energy by running impromptu races 
with her shadow. If there were an audience of any size, she 
would do the rocking horse act she had inherited from an- 
other Flame. 

A replacement draft arrived from the United States and 
Reckless lost a number of friends. Gunnery Sergeant Mull 
journeyed to the pasture to say good-by. Reckless appeared 
to be relieved when he told her Latham was taking his place. 
Sgt. Harry Bolin was to leave with Mull and his gun section 
was taken over by S/Sgt. Robert Reschke. Of immediate 
concern to Reckless, however, was the arrival of Sgt. Elmer 
Lively, who was assigned the second squad in Lisenby's sec- 
tion. They became firm friends in a short time and she dis- 
counted the fact that he once had been an Army man. 

All was not entirely peaceful, however. Day by day the 
enemy were increasing their shelling of the regimental sector. 
Most of it fell on the outposts and main line, but more and 
more rounds expressed their hate in areas to the rear. One 


afternoon three mortar shells exploded in the pasture. Reck- 
less' reaction was one of shock. She had learned enough of 
war to know that such goings on could be dangerous. She 
retired to her bunker. 

Latham had seen the mortars explode and was running to 
get her to cover. As he told Pedersen later, "She knows what 
incoming is and she knows what the bunker's for. When 
those mortars exploded she didn't exactly run for cover, but 
she didn't let any grass grow under her feet either." 

The next event that took place in Reckless' life can be at- 
tributed to boredom and lack of employment. One night, 
without explanation or reason, she left her pasturage and 
made her way forward to the main line. The Marines of 
Capt. "Big Dog" Young's "C" Company were delighted, 
though surprised, with their visitor. They made a great to-do 
over her and broke out all sorts of hoarded rations to give 
evidence of the warmth of their welcome. 

To right and left along the line, the word was passed by 
field telephone, "Reckless is in the line." 

"Whatta you mean?" 

"Yeh, just walked in." 

"What's she doing?" 

"Eating C rations. From the way she's eating, that Reckless 
Rifle outfit don't feed her." 

"Told them yet?" 

"No, let 'em sweat." 

When the enemy opened with a severe barrage of incom- 
ing, the Marine infantry were sorry they had not notified 
Pedersen. It was the heaviest bombardment to date. Front 
line rabbit holes and bunkers were too small for her, so she 
was rushed into a deeper section of trench. They did not 
know about her ability to kneel Volunteer flak jackets cov- 
ered her from tail to ears. She didn't like the one over her 
head and shook it off. 


"Keep your head down. Reckless. Are you crazy?" 

"She must be to come up here when she doesn't have to." 

On several occasions she was showered with dirt and peb- 
bles by near misses. The humor of having her in the line 
quickly evaporated. Towards morning the bombardment sub- 
sided and Pedersen was notified to come and retrieve his 

It was generally supposed that Reckless had left home and 
sought the company of other Marines because she felt the 
RR Platoon was taking her pretty much for granted. 

Combat Outpost Vegas lay twelve hundred meters in front 
of the main battle positions. Reno, to the north and west, was 
fifteen hundred meters from the MLR. The distance between 
the two was five hundred meters. Carson was eight hundred 
meters from the line and six hundred southwest of Reno. The 
three formed an obtuse triangle with Reno at the apex, and 
they came to be known as the Nevada Complex or the Iron 
Triangle, and the violent struggle to hold them, the "Battle 
of Cities." 

These positions were named by Marine Lt. Colonel Tony 
Caputo whose battalion established and first occupied them. 
Caputo designated them after the Nevada gaming towns be- 
cause, as he said, "It's a gamble if we can hold them." 

This was a sound military observation inasmuch as the 
enemy line and strong points were on higher ground and 
looked down on all three. Carson was only four hundred 
meters from glowering Un-Gok; Reno was but three hun- 
dred meters from Hill 150, which was flanked by 153 to the 
east. Both of these enemy strongholds were backed up by 
the mighty Hill 190. Vegas also had 153 and 190 to contend 

The numbers of these hills indicate their elevation and can 
be compared with Reno at 143 and Vegas a squatty 139. De- 
spite the apparent hazard of occupying positions so near the 
enemy lines, the Marines were forced to it by the dictates of 


terrain. Reno, Vegas and Carson held the key to the city of 
Seoul. To lose these outposts meant the present line would 
become untenable. Further retraction southward was impos- 
sible without crossing the Imjin. If the Marines withdrew 
south of the river, the Army units on the right would be 
forced to fall back across the Samichon River and, once 
again, the gateway to the Korean capital would be open. 
With such a victory in view, the truce talks at Panmunjom 
would be delayed or broken off entirely. 

It was known to the Marines that the Chinese could take 
any one or all three of these outposts if they were willing to 
pay the price. With most commanders, the cost would have 
been militarily unprofitable, but the ruthless Communist 
leaders ordered the assault. The battle for the Nevada Com- 
plex was joined and for a period of seventy-two hours reached 
a bloody crescendo seldom matched in warfare. 

In the final days preceding the attack, however, the inten- 
tions of the enemy were not known. A prisoner captured 
earlier had informed the Marines that a heavy Chinese attack 
was to fall upon the 2 A. Army Division with a later assault on 
the Marine lines. This information could not be corroborated. 
To penetrate the fog of uncertainty and keep the enemy off 
balance, Walt devised the plan whereby the reserve battalion 
(the zd) would place platoons on and around likely avenues 
of approach to ambush and capture prisoners. Another day- 
light raid on the enemy stronghold of Detroit was in rehearsal 

As Colonel Walt was to write later, 

The day of March 26, 1953, was normal during daylight 
working hours with no indication of what was to come except 
for a large amount of incoming, which had been occurring 
for several days previous. However, at precisely 1900 the 
enemy launched a coordinated attack by fire all along our 
regimental front. At the same time he attacked the center 
MLR regiment by fire and conducted limited diversionary at- 


tacks in platoon and squad strength against outposts Dagmar, 
Hedy and Esther in that sector. Also at 1900, there were sev- 
eral citings of enemy units moving in front of the Korean 
Marine Corps sector. 

Shadings of night were growing swiftly as the enemy 
began his preparatory bombardment. Heavy mortar and ar- 
tillery fire blanketed the MLR. The heaviest fire of all was 
on the three outposts. As night came on the sight of it was 
terrifying. The flashing eruptions ran the ridge lines and cas- 
caded into the valleys and the sound of it was that of twenty 
tornadoes tearing at a countryside. 

Throughout the night fighting of the heaviest, most violent 
sort developed in and around the Nevada Complex. By mid- 
night the initial stage of the battle had gone to the enemy. 
Reno and Vegas were lost and the fate of the Marines man- 
ning the positions was unknown. Carson had held after being 
put to a severe strain. Reinforcing units sent along the Reno 
"rope" became heavily involved with superior enemy forces 
and were halted short of their objective. A similar setback 
met the unit dispatched to aid the Vegas garrison. 

At 2:00 o'clock in the morning Walt was forced to a fate- 
ful decision. He requested permission to withdraw all troops 
to the rear of the MLR, to reorganize and launch a coordi- 
nated attack to retake Reno and Vegas during daylight. The 
remaining hours of darkness would be used to evacuate the 
wounded and dead. 

Pollock granted Walt's request and the regimental com- 
mander called a meeting of his battalion commanders and 
staff in his COC bunker. 

It was a grim gathering. Like most Marines these men had 
great belief in their abilities and a total faith in the courage 
and resolution of the Marine riflemen who would carry the 
fight to the enemy. It was simply a matter of giving the 
counterattacking force every assistance possible and complet- 
ing the task with as few casualties as permitted. 


THE ENEMY ATTACK by fire began, Latham braved 
the shelling and went to the pasture to check on Reckless. He 
found the little horse had taken refuge in the bunker. She was 
restive, nervous, and a fine sweat dampened her coat. She 
rubbed against Latham in obvious welcome as the terrifying 
crash and flash of exploding shells broke through her cus- 
tomary cairn. As it grew darker the night flares appeared to 
upset her more. 

Latham tried to reassure her with little success. He was 
genuinely disturbed when she refused her night feeding of 
grain. He ran his hand along her damp neck. 

"Don't get shook," he told her, "we've got a big day ahead 
of us." He left the grain in the feed box and returned to the 
platoon CP. Through the long hours of the night the men of 
the Reckless Rifles monitored by radio the battle of the out- 
posts. Pedersen arrived from the regimental CP in the early 
morning hours. 

He told his men, "The counterattack is set for 0930. Two- 
five will hit Vegas, Two-seven Reno. There is a shortage of 
smoke shells in the artillery. We have a good supply, so we'll 


be called on to help cover Two-five with smoke from Lisen- 
by's guns. Until the jump off, we'll fire on targets of oppor- 
tunity with HE." 

It was still dark when Coleman made his way from the 
bunker to the pasture. A big-boned youth of great size and 
with the endurance of an ox, he led his charge from her shel- 
ter. The straps of the pack saddle were stiff with cold and it 
was awkward working in the darkness; his large hands fum- 
bled with the cinch, breeching and breastplate straps. 

Reckless was still nervous though the enemy incoming had 
fallen away to sporadic fire as the Chinese worked to consoli- 
date positions gained during the night and save ammunition 
for the expected counterattack. Marine artillery and heavy 
mortars continued to fire on assembly areas and routes of ap- 
proach the enemy would use to reinforce Reno and Vegas. 
As friendly shells sped overhead they filled the night air with 
a rasping whizzpp-whizzpp-whizzpp. Their final rasp would 
die for a moment to be followed by the crash of distant thun- 
der. Then there was the occasional shell with a loose or im- 
perfect rotating band, and that sounded like a thousand angry 

The normal whizzpp fretted Reckless, but the unusual 
hornet-nest sound brought sweat to her flanks and neck. 
Coleman talked to her and tried to get her to eat a feeding of 
barley, but she would no more than nibble at it. She tossed 
her head and the breath came from her nostrils in a nervous 
snort. She tried to turn back into the bunker. 

Coleman secured a small bag of grain to the pack along 
with rations for himself. He looked out over the darkened 
waves of land, the low scudding clouds overhead, and taking 
a shorter hold on the lead rope, moved a pace forward. Reck- 
less hung momentarily and followed. 

They left the pasture and took the trail to the Ammunition 
Supply Point. Once away from the flatlands of the paddy 
pasture they were walking through walls of shadows from 


the shallow hills nearby. They met Lively and his gun crew 
moving quietly in opposite direction. 

Lively told Coleman, "Gunny Latham is waiting for you at 
the ASR He'll help you load on the first few trips." 

Lively went on into the darkness with his squad in file be* 
hind him. Coleman and Reckless continued westward. They 
climbed over the sharp finger and Coleman was beginning to 
sweat under his flak jacket. He slipped the rifle from his 
shoulder and slung it over the forward crosstree of the pack 
They went on. In the darkness it was a tight scramble to the 
ridge that masked the supply point from the enemy. 

On the top they paused for a breather and the wind from 
the northwest was fresh and whipping strong. Though 
friendly shells were still "whizzpering" above, Reckless no 
longer shook her head and pushed against him for comfort. 
Securing the lead rope to the pack, Coleman spoke to her and 
she led the way down the reverse slope. In the darkness the 
descent was steep and the trail uncertain. Coleman fell and a 
rock tore through his utility trousers and woolen underwear. 
His knee bled. Ahead of him he could hear Reckless slither- 
ing downward with all four feet breaking her progress. 
When he got to the bottom she was waiting with Latham. 

Two ammunition trucks from the regimental dump had 
off-loaded and were grumbling over the rude trail that led to 
the main supply route a thousand yards away. 

"Did she eat her grain?" Latham asked. 

"Nope. Just nibbled at it. She didn't eat what you left her 
last night either." 

"Leave her grain here. Try her after a while." 

"Break out plenty of smoke," Latham directed the ammu- 
nition handlers. "We're the only ones who've got plenty of it. 
We'll start her out with eight rounds. See how she handles 
that load. Make each load six smoke and two HE." 

The canisters were laced to the pack and Latham, with a 
slap of encouragement, turned Reckless to the first test. She 


took a deep breath, pricked her ears sharply forward and 
charged the hill. As Latham and Coleman scrambled upwards 
behind her they were met with a small avalanche of rocks and 
dirt she had kicked loose. 

Breathing heavily, they gained the ridge line. Reckless saw 
them corning and started down the far side. They had to 
press their pace to keep up with her. It was easier for all on 
the trail skirting the paddy before the sweat-letting surge 
over the finger. Off the finger, the two Marines thought she 
might turn into the pasture, but she kept to the trail. 

The first light of dawn was lightening the sky behind Hill 
120 as Reckless came to the approaches leading to it. She 
knew what faced her and without a word of urging broke 
into a trot and then a gallop. The ammunition canisters 
bounced and banged and Latham was fearful the bindings 
would break. With a load of nearly two hundred pounds she 
gained speed slowly, but hit the sharp rise at a run. The in- 
cline was a forty-five degree angle with two hundred fifty 
feet of turning, twisting trail before the first restful spur was 
reached. Her flanks were still heaving and there was a rim of 
lather under the breeching when Latham gained her side. 

Lisenby had established various firing sites on the slopes of 
the hill mass of 120. Directly below was the MLR. In front 
of the line was a four hundred yard strip of mined paddy 
land and then the hills of the enemy. Because of the curvature 
of the line, which at this point ran in a northeasterly direc- 
tion, Vegas and Reno were southeast of the gun positions. 
The gun crews could see in front of the outposts and could 
fire into the flanks of the enemy on Hills 190, 150 and 153. 

It was still wanting a half hour to sunrise, but Vegas and 
Reno and the enemy-held hills were coming clear in the 
growing light. Marine artillery and heavy mortars were 
mushrooming the ridge lines with black HE and white 
phosphorous, called "Willie Peter" by the troops. On Vegas 
there was no sign of life, friendly or enemy. The only sign of 


war or that men had fought and died on this hill a few hours 
before were the hollow-eyed holes left by shells and mortars, 
the jagged, caved-in trench line and tactical wire ground to a 
thorny pulp. 

Pedersen roved the high ground searching through binocu- 
lars for targets as he directed the shooting. He was paying 
special attention to the approaches to Vegas from the north. 
Anything to kill, maim, harass and delay the enemy until the 
counterattack could jump off. No smoke shells, however, 
would be used until orders were given to cover the advancing 

Behind the lines tanks growled into ridge-line tank wallows 
scooped out by bulldozers and, hull down, began to fire. Du- 
bois and his section opened up in the Carson sector as did 
Reschke from behind Ava. High angling over all were the 4.2 
(four deuces) mortars and behind all these were the batteries 
of artillery, medium and large, beginning to increase the 
tempo of fire. 

Then came the sound that always made the most blase vet- 
eran cock an ear. It was the frenzied tearing of air currents 
by a rocket ripple. One hundred forty-four rockets passed 
overhead in nearly solid flight. At the sound of tkem Marines 
all along the line looked northward. On the forward slopes of 
Hill 190 there was the clustered twinkle of dozens and dozens 
of orange lights and then the lights were lost in the Bikini 
blossom of yellow smoke and dust. Long seconds later came 
the roar of thunder. Even with that the Marines did not turn 
away, but waited for the second, smaller flight. 

"Ah! The alibi round," meaning those rockets that had lain 
stillborn in their tubes on the initial firing had been rejuve- 
nated and sent on their way of destruction. It was one sound 
of war that Reckless never understood or became accustomed 
to hearing. 

At the beginning of the day the recoilless rifles had a small 
supply of shells in the vicinty of each firing position. Reck- 


less began the day working against this backlog. Her efforts 
were augmented by members of the squad who were packing 
three rounds a trip. As the day wore on, time and terrain 
began to take their toll of Marine-packers and the little horse 
was making two trips for each of her friends. 

The gun crews were following the established tactic of fir- 
Ing five rounds and shifting to an alternate site. The most dis- 
tant position from the supply point was seven hundred yards, 
the nearest five hundred fifty. Despite the niggedness of the 
terrain, Reckless was making the long haul in twenty min- 
utes and the shorter one in twelve. During the early phase 
there was little or no counterfire from the Chinese. They 
were intent on waiting out the blistering Marine fire and sav- 
ing ammunition for the infantry attack they knew they must 

At daybreak weather reports indicated the wind would be 
blowing at nine to eleven knots in a southerly direction. 
Under these conditions it would be most difficult to maintain 
an effective screen over the advancing Marines. Because of 
the shortage of smoke ammunition it would be impossible to 
cover units attacking both Reno and Vegas. Pollock gave 
Walt permission to withhold the assault on Reno to allow 
maximum preparation on Vegas. 

As the hour for the counterattack approached, every 
weapon at the command of the Marines was turned to the 
task of supporting the infantry. Smoke shells began to blos- 
som and drift down wind. Lisenby's gun crews began pump- 
ing two smoke shells a minute onto the slopes ahead of the 
advancing infantry. A gray fog grew and drifted southward. 
In the draws the smoke held well and provided cover, but in 
the open the wind caught it up and dispersed it. 

The enemy, aware the attack was forming, began a heavy 
counterfire. Pedersen roamed the hillside with his binoculars, 
seeking enemy gun and mortar positions. When such a site 
was discovered, he would direct Lively or Ober to take it 


under fire. Except for the tanks, the recoilless rifles were the 
only weapons where the gunners could see the target, whereas 
the artillery and heavy mortars were dependent on forward 
observers. Because of this Pedersen's guns could fire on tar- 
gets directly in front of friendly troops. 

Targets were plentiful and with the constant planting of 
smoke shells the backlog of ammunition dwindled until the 
gun crews were loading directly from Reckless' pack. La- 
tham increased her load to eight rounds and watched with 
concern as she climbed the steep hillside. 

Better to support the thin line of attacking Marines, Peder- 
sen moved the gun sites forward until the guns were firing 
over the main line itself. From this position the guns could 
bring enfilade fire onto the enemy on Vegas and flanking fire 
on reinforcements attempting to move down from Hill 190. 
This meant a longer haul for Reckless and her fellow Marine 
ammunition carriers, and it also meant they could be 
brought under direct fire from the enemy on Detroit and 

Shortly after midday, Pedersen spotted several hundred 
Chinese reinforcements moving from Hill 139 to Vegas. He 
reported his find to battalion and turned Lively's attention to 
this lucrative target. From the exposed-gun position the enemy 
could be seen running from defiladed positions across a two 
hundred yard strip of paddy land to shelter behind a finger of 
Vegas itself. This force was taken under fire by the heavy 
mortars, artillery and aircraft with Lively and Ober throwing 
round after round of HE and WP into the running Chinese. 

Enemy counterfire shifted to the telltale smoke and dust 
blown up by the weapons. Incoming rose from sporadic to 
heavy, but Pedersen knew a shift in positions would cost time. 
The rifles stayed where they were set in with Lively and 
Ober firing as rapidly as possible. The gun barrels grew hot. 

Reckless came off the paddy floor with her twenty-first 
load of the day. She was wet with sweat and white rims of 


lather curled over the breeching and breastplate straps. She 
made her run at the sharp spur. Each time it appeared as 
though she would not make it, yet each time she did. On the 
top she paused with flanks heaving. Though she was obvi- 
ously very weary, her rest period was never for long before 
she turned toward the sound of the guns. They were her bell- 

The incoming was heavy as the enemy tried to destroy the 
weapon firing directly into the ranks of their reinforcing 
unit. The roar and blast shook the ground as rocks, shrapnel 
and dust filled the air. Reckless made her way along a spur, 
across a shallow draw and onto the nose. They unloaded her 
in the partial shelter of an old, bashed-in bunker. A cluster of 
three enemy mortar shells roared in and burst. The burning, 
searing white phosphorous vomited in all directions. The Ma- 
rines dived for cover for there is nothing quite so feared by 
fighting men as the molten fury of phosphorous. Reckless re- 
coiled from the sizzling white cloud. For a moment it ap- 
peared that terror might make her bolt. 

"Easy, girl!" Latham whipped off his flak jacket and put it 
over her head. The semidarkness eased her panic. His hand 
along her neck wiped away more of her fear. 

"Okay, let's go." He gave her a hearty slap and removed 
the jacket. She turned out of the shallow hole and took the 
trail back to the supply point. The guns ceased fire and 
shifted positions. Few, if any, of the enemy reinforcements 
reached Vegas. 

Latham followed and once they were behind the protec- 
tion of the masking canyon arm, he removed the pack saddle 
and watered and fed her. While she ate he rubbed her thor- 
oughly, paying particular attention to her feet and legs. He 
gave her another half hour rest following the meal. When the 
pack was replaced and the ammunition canisters roped in 
place she took the trail back without urging. 

Throughout the long day of fighting Reckless continued 


to carry her pack loads of ammunition through the corridors 
of blasting mortar and artillery shells. Sometimes she made 
the trip with Coleman and other Marines, at other times she 
went alone. On one trip a piece of shrapnel flicked over the 
left eye and blood ran into the white of her blaze. Pedersen 
wiped it clear and patted it dry with iodine. Later in the day 
she was cut again on the left flank, but neither wound ap- 
peared to unsettle her. She had become an automaton. Fatigue 
had taken its toll and drained her free of nerves, but as long as 
they would load and unload her, she kept to her task. No 
longer did she run at the hill rising sharply from the paddy 
. . . rather she crept up the twisting trail and paused to take 
two or three rest periods en route. 

Though water was in short supply, Latham drained bottles 
into his helmet and saw to it that she replaced the moisture 
she was losing by sweating. He also lightened her load to six 
rounds and gave her a twenty minute rest and grain in the 
kte afternoon. From his combat rations he gave her squares 
of chocolate as an energy restorer. 

Lisenby's section continued to pour shells into enemy po- 
sitions. From their gun positions the Reckless Riflemen could 
watch the Marine assault forming; they could see the lines 
melt away and the attack stall, and they redoubled their ef- 
forts to assist their fellow Marines. Lively's gun barrel grew 
hot. It came to white heat and crystallized. The gun went out 
of action about the time it grew too dark for further shooting. 

During the day Reckless made fifty-one trips from the ASP 
to various gun positions. She carried three hundred eighty-six 
rounds . . . more than nine thousand pounds of explosives. 
Pedersen estimated the distance she traveled to exceed thirty- 
five miles. 

She stumbled and her head hung low as she came off the 
hill for the last time in the cool darkness. She walked in a file 
with the section and the Marines talked to her and told her 
what a great little horse she was. A few meters across the line 


the battle still raged and a jigsaw pattern of tracer bullets 
laced the darkness. Overhead friendly shells still whispered 
their way to enemy positions and rocket ripples still painted 
the ridge lines an orange red. Enemy incoming blasted and 
rocked the lines and hills to harass and halt the Marines from 
reinforcing Estes on the slope of Vegas and resnpplying In- 
galls on Carson. 

Reckless paid scant heed to this roar of battle as she ap- 
peared to sleep-walk the trail with her friends. Her pace 
quickened a bit when they turned off the trail and into the 
pasture. In front of the open-faced bunker she let out a great 
sigh as Latham removed the pack saddle. Carter brought a 
can of water in the jeep. While she ate a generous helping of 
grain, Latham and Coleman rubbed her down. When she was 
through with the grain, Latham let her drink again and then 
piled fresh straw deep on the bunker floor. It took consid- 
erable coaxing, but he got her to lie down as he had taught 
her at Changdan. He left her covered with a blanket. 

When Latham arrived at the CP he reported to Pedersen 
that all was well with Reckless. In turn Pedersen told La- 
tham, "Orders have come through relieving me of the platoon. 
Lt.*Bill Riley's taking my place in the morning." 

Once again Latham was faced with a dual loss. "Where are 
yoji going, Lieutenant?'' 

Pedersen smiled, "Not too far, Joe. Fm taking command of 
the company. I won't be far away." 

"Then Reckless can stay with me?" 

"Of course. You'll need her tomorrow. I've got a new rifle 
coming up tonight. Have Lively check it over and be in po- 
sition to start firing at first light." 

"Yes, sir." 

During the day the Marine infantry had experienced fight- 
ing of the heaviest sort. Despite the most gallant efforts by 
Dog and Easy companies of the Second Battalion, little ground 


was gained. Late in the afternoon Fox of Seventh Marines 
carried on the attack and gained the lower trenches of Little 
Vegas. A prisoner was captured. He proved to be a willing 
talker and an intelligent soldier. He informed Walt and the 
staff that they were being opposed by the 358th Regiment of 
the 4oth Communist Chinese Army. He was pround of his 
unit and boasted it was the best in the army and the honor of 
leading the assault on Reno and Vegas had gone to the 3 5 8th 
because it was the best. When the Marine counterattack on 
Vegas began they had been told, "You will hold to the last 
man. Those who withdraw will be sent back." He said casu- 
alties had been heavy and another regiment was being sent 

During the night a supply train got through to Carson 
which assured the successful defense of this outpost. Plans 
were laid for the continuation of the attack on Vegas and the 
neutralization by fire of Reno. Now that it was known the 
Marines had been removed, the heaviest weapons would be 
turned on both objectives. 

Pedersen turned over to Riley and went to the pasture to 
see Reckless before reporting in to the Antitank Company 
CP. Before daylight Lisenby's section was moving along the 
trail toward their gun positions. Coleman found Reckless 
gaunt and hungry. It could be seen that the day before had 
melted many pounds from her small frame. While she dug 
into an oversized meal of barley, Coleman rubbed her down. 
She accepted the pack without protest, but when they struck 
off toward the ASP Coleman noticed she was stiff-gaited. 

Latham waited for them at the ASP and examined her legs 
and feet with care. Coleman told him about her obvious sore- 

"She's gimpy from overwork, Coleman. She should work 
out of it when she gets warmed up." 

Latham's prognosis was correct. By the end of the first trip 
she moved along freely. Her battle attitude was altogether 


different on this second day as well. The day before seemed 
to have given her a fatalistic approach to her life with Ma- 
rines. No longer did she become skittish over unusual noises 
and now her sweating was normal because of hill climbing 
and not excessive from worry. 

As Lively was to report, "A round of Willie Peter landed 
about thirty yards from her and she didn't even look around 
at it." 

It was well she had become accustomed to war for this sec- 
ond day of the battle for Vegas was to bring a cannonading 
and bombing seldom experienced in warfare. In denying 
Reno to the enemy by fire the heaviest shells and one thou- 
sand pound bombs completely erased the crest. Later in the 
morning twenty-eight tons of bombs and hundreds of the 
largest shells turned the crest of Vegas into a smoking, death- 
pocked rubble. Reckless shivered under the shock of the con- 
cussion, but it was a muscular reaction rather than from 

Easy Company of the 5th Marines came back to the battle 
and in a valiant sweep upwards gained the hill. The Reckless 
Rifles aided materially in this final drive by firing directly 
into the trenches ahead of the attacking infantry. Another 
night and day of heavy fighting repulsed counterattack after 
counterattack until the Chinese command had expended two 
regiments. Even they could not afford to pay a higher price. 

The Battle of Vegas was over and within a short time the 
Marines- were relieved by the Turkish Brigade. For the first 
time in many months the ist Marine Division was to leave the 
line for a rest. 

Riding in the trailer Gentleman had loaned them six months 
before, Reckless and her regiment moved across the Imjin 
River to Camp Casey. It was near the village of Tongdu- 
chon-ni on the Sinch'on River and fifteen miles, as a heli- 
copter flies, from the battle line. Only in the quiet of the 
night could the big guns be heard. It was a beautiful farming 


section and the grass was tall and green and the hillsides 
bright with flowers. At first sight Reckless liked the area and 
the location of her camp, which was just down the road and 
around a bend from the Second Battalion. All the Marines 
she knew well told her they would have a lot of fun. She did. 


SHORTLY AFTER ARRIVAL in Camp Casey, Pedersen received 
transfer orders. As soon as he learned the sad news he called 
Latham to his tent. 

"Joe, IVe got my orders. There's nothing I can do about it 
this time." 

"I'm sorry to hear it, Lieutenant. What about Reckless? 
I'd like to take up a collection and pay you back." 

"Only in part, Joe. I always want to keep a monetary in- 
terest in her. We've got to think about getting her back to 
the States. We can't leave her out here when the division 
goes home." 

"I've been thinking of that, too. The CO of the Second 
Battalion is interested in her. He said he'd get her home." 

"General Pollock will do all he can. I know that. Anyway, 
well have to wait until this war is over." 

"She may be an old mare by that time." 

Latham called the platoon together and in a matter of min- 
utes had enough money to repay the officer. Riley joined 
Pedersen when he went to say good-by to the little horse. She 



was feeding on lush spring grass and came to meet them. 
Pedersen ran his hand along her sleek neck. 

"Take good care of her, Bill" 

"Don't worry, Eric. She'll be okay." 

Captain James Schoen assumed command of the company 
and Pedersen departed for his new duty station. 

Reckless found herself to be somewhat of a celebrity. A 
constant flow of visitors came to the camp to see her and she 
was interviewed by several newsmen. Her picture and an ar- 
ticle about her appeared in the Tokyo edition of the Stars 
and Stripes and the commanding officer of the Second Bat- 
talion said he would write about her for the Saturday Eve- 
ning Post. General Pollock dropped by to see that she was 
happy and wherever she went Marines called greetings to her. 
With rest, green grass and grain she soon regained the spirit 
of Changdan and put on boisterous exhibitions of running 
and jumping. She took delight in taunting Latham by making 
believe she would run him down. There were several near 
collisions as she narrowed the distance of her misses. 

"Some day," Riley warned, "she's going to make a mistake 
and we'll be looking for a new gunnery sergeant." 

Within a matter of days the regiment was in a turmoil of 
moving again. They were hardly settled in Camp Casey be- 
fore they took off on an amphibious exercise. The question 
was raised, "Is Reckless going?" The answer was unanimous, 
"Of course, she's going! Put her on the loading list. She wiU 
ride in the LST with the tanks." 

And that is how Reckless came to be the first horse in 
history to go on an amphibious landing with the Marines. 
The loading lists were made up and submitted to the Navy. 
The regiment was to move from Camp Casey to Inchon, a 
distance of fifty-five miles, by train. Because the trains in 
Korea run on an indifferent schedule, such a trip could take 
anywhere from six to twelve hours. Schoen decided his unit 


could go by train and that he and Coleman would transport 
Reckless to the seaport town by trailer, Latham was to stay in 
camp with the rear echelon. He promised to have a shoe- 
maker located by the time they were back. 

After seeing the company aboard the train, Schoen and 
Coleman, accompanied by PFC Eagle Trader, began the 
journey to Inchon. They spent the night at the Marine sup- 
ply base at Ascom City and arrived at Inchon early the fol- 
lowing morning. 

A replacement draft of Army troops, freshly arrived from 
the United States, were debarking from a ship when Reckless 
and her retinue arrived on the dock. PFC Eagle Trader 
jumped out, dropped the tail gate and without fuss Reckless 
scrambled to the ground. 

At this performance the soldiers went bug-eyed. 

"Hey! Lookit! The Marines've got a horse. Horse Marines, 
seagoing horse Marines. They're taking her on that boat!" 

None of the Marines present made any attempt to en- 
lighten the "Doggies." Anyone who had been in Korea more 
than ten minutes should have recognized her on sight. 

The next hurdle to Reckless 5 sea venture came from the 
Navy. The Navy can hardly be blamed, for they did not 
know they were dealing with a Marine heroine. The best ac- 
count of her appearance on the ramp to go aboard the LST 
came from Lt. Col. Ed Wheeler, who commanded the ist 
Battalion at the time Pedersen was wounded for the third 
time. Wheeler was now executive officer of the Regiment. 

Wheeler wrote: 

I recall that as Reckless and her party approached the LST 
they were halted by a loud hail from the bow. The hailer 
proved to be the Navy skipper. He was considerably exercised 
over the proposition of transporting livestock in his clean tank 
deck. It was obvious his embarrassment was profound when 
the Marines pulled out a loading plan approved by him, which 
included in its myriad columns and figures, "i horse, w/ap- 


purtenances." From that point on, I imagine that this officer 
is a firm believer in reading "the small print" in any loading 
list he signs. 

Reckless gained admission to the ship and Coleman made a 
stall for her between tanks. Two days' rations were unloaded 
from the trailer and she was ready for her first sea voyage. 
The bulk of her feed was in a truck on another ship and she 
would marry up with it on the beach. 

The plan for the exercise was to have the regiment and 
supporting troops land on a beach several hundred miles 
south of Inchon. After landing and penetrating in a mock 
war for several thousand yards, they would withdraw, board 
ship and return to Inchon and Camp Casey. This would be 
the first amphibious landing for the regiment since scaling 
the seawall of Inchon in 1950 under battle conditions. 

Reckless would land with the tanks and go about her task 
of transporting ammunition inland for the Reckless Rifles. 

Soon after sailing the task force came into heavy weather. 
The excitement of the trip, combined with the smell of gaso- 
line from the tanks and the roll of the vessel, made Reckless 
sick. Coleman and Eagle Trader did what they could for her 
and wished desperately that "Doc" Mitchell were along to 
prescribe for her. They were rebuffed by the ship's corps- 
man when they asked for seasick pills. He thought they were 
crazy. The tank deck had become messy and the Navy per- 
sonnel were unhappy with its condition. 

Captain John Kaufman, U. S. Navy, commodore of the 
LST squadron, flew his "flag" from the same ship in which 
Reckless was riding. He had heard of her presence on board 
and had gone below decks to visit her. When he heard of her 
seasickness he saw an excellent opportunity to taunt his Ma- 
rine friends Wheeler and Colonel Harvey "Joe" Tschirgi, 
who was now commanding the Fifth. 

The storm forced a change in plan for the exercise and a 
conference was called in the task force flagship. Kaufman's 


display of anger was convincing. He waited until all con- 
cerned were seated and then asked in a loud voice, "When're 
you Marines going to get that haybag off my ship?" 

Army observers on the operations were startled to learn 
there was a horse in the Marine complement. 

Tschirgi asked, "How's she doing, Jack?" 

"How's she doing? Brother! You should see. That tank 
deck will never be the same again." 

Tschirgi grinned, "You may have to put up with her 
longer than you expected. We're only going to land the in- 
fantry . . . the tanks, artillery and Reckless will stay aboard." 

There was less acting in Kaufman's reaction to this news. 
"My ship has won the C E' for being the cleanest vessel in the 
fleet two years hand running, but I can assure you Reckless 
is going to end that tenure." 

The heavy seas continued and only the infantry went 
ashore. Two days later they re-embarked and the task force 
headed for Inchon. By now Reckless had overcome her "al- 
lergy" and she was voracious. In no time at all she was fin- 
ished with the scant rations that had come aboard with her. 
Coleman and Eagle Trader were able to arrange for cabbage 
and oatmeal from the ship's galley, but the cabbage caused 
another stomach upset. The crew groaned and Coleman wor- 
ried over her obvious loss in weight. How could he explain to 

Kaufman sent a dispatch to Tschirgi: "Reckless out of ra- 
tions. We may have to eat her before she eats us." 

A small boat transfer of hay and barley was effected by 
Cpl. Howard Richie and the rest of the trip was uneventful. 
When she debarked there was a noticeable lack of a return 
invitation from the Navy. 

In the absence of the main body, the rear echelon turned 
to with a will and Camp Casey was a welcome sight . . . with 


screened mess halls, tents in which each man had a cot, and 
daily access to the PX. Recreational equipment was distrib- 
uted and athletic fields leveled so the Marines turned to 
games, Latham had a surprise for Reckless when he intro- 
duced her to Jimmy Lee. Jimmy was an orphan Latham had 
come across and took in to live with him. The three were in- 
separable from then on. Coleman was relieved of caring for 
her while Latham and Jimmy took over the job. 

This was the first time Reckless had been with the Marines 
when they were completely relaxed and on a half-day train- 
ing schedule. The rest of the time was spent at games or 
around the slop chute. 

One day she posed for a picture with Riley, Latham and 
Lively's squad. Doc Mitchell was there, too. The purpose of 
the picture was to record a challenge to Native Dancer to 
race in The Paddy Derby. A letter was drafted to Alfred 
Vanderbilt submitting the terms of the race to be held at 
Upsan Downs: A side bet of $25,000 (each man in the ist 
Marine Division to put up $1.00) over a distance of one mile 
and a half of hills and rice paddy; weight to be carried, eight 
rounds of 75mm. ammunition (192 pounds). There would be 
no riders. Both horses would be turned loose and the first to 
reach the firing Reckless Rifle would be judged the winner. 

A few days later Native Dancer was defeated in the Ken- 
tucky Derby, Doubtlessly this loss discouraged Mr. Vander- 
bilt for the platoon never received an answer to their pro- 
posal. Most of the Marines were convinced she would have 
won in a walk. 

A regimental parade was held to honor and decorate the 
heroes of the Battle for Vegas, and the division band made 
the hills echo with martial music. To Reckless this was more 
exciting than being under fire. The band music made her skin 
ripple and when it came time for the platoon to come into 
line and pass in review, she wanted to do her rocking horse 
gait, but Coleman wouldn't let her. 


One day General Pollock came by for the last time before 
returning to the United States. As usual, he gave her a thor- 
ough inspection. He was as upset over the condition of her 
shoes as he had been over Coleman's months before. Riley 
assured him that Latham was taking her to the Seoul race 
track the next day in an eif ort to find a cobbler she would 
allow to touch her feet. 

Though the change in command of the division cost Reck- 
less a friend, she gained another in Major General Ran 
McC. Pate. Once he met her the new commander never passed 
her camp without dropping in for a chat. 

The following day, Latham and Jimmy Lee drove Reckless 
to Seoul. The Gunnery Sergeant, who knew the little horse 
better than any Marine, was impressed by her apparent ex- 
citement as the trailer came to a stop by the track stables. He 
knew Pedersen had bought her at the track, but knew noth- 
ing of her previous owner. It was obvious by the number of 
Koreans who circled his vehicle that she was remembered by 
all of them. Jimmy had not learned enough English as yet to 
be of much help, but Latham made his wants known by lift- 
ing a hoof and pointing at her shoe. 

A Korean with an arm missing stepped from the throng 
and Reckless greeted him eagerly. He smiled at Latham. 

"My name Choi." 

"Hello, Joe. My horse needs new shoes.' 7 

Choi slipped his arm over Reckless' neck. "We fix." He 
shouted in Korean and a youngster scurried away and dis- 
appeared behind the stables. Choi said to Latham, "I know 
Ah-Chim-Hai loisg time." He held his hand out to indicate 
her size as a weanling. 

"What did you call her?" Latham asked. 

"Ah-Chim-Hai. What you call her?" 


Choi repeated the word with a frown. He shook his head, 
it meant nothing to him. Taking the lead rope from Latham 


he led Reckless into an end stall. She appeared to be in fa- 
miliar surroundings. 

A young Korean came around the end of the stable. He 
was breathing heavily from running. Without speaking, he 
went into the stall and Latham saw Reckless nuzzle against 

Knowing she was in safe hands, Latham took Jimmy in 
search of the mess galley of the Army helicopter unit. After 
coffee and doughnuts with the Army, they returned to the 
stable. Reckless had been expertly shod and was ready. Choi 
was there too, but the horseshoer was gone. Latham asked 
for him, but all he could get from Choi was a shrug. With 
the trailer backed against a bank, Reckless clambered in. 
Latham pressed a handful of hwan into the hand of the 
Korean and drove away. 

With little warning the Marines were ordered back into 
the lines. The move was made in the midst of heavy summer 
rams and Reckless found herself once again in Changdan. 
The Second Battalian was occupying the line supporting the 
outposts Hedy to COP 2. It was a complete cycle for the RR 
Platoon and the little mare. 

The same conditions prevailed around COP 2 as had ex- 
isted to bring Reckless into the Corps. While the truce talks 
went on the tenacious, patient Chipieisfc Continued to dig. Con- 
siderable headway had been macje inasmuch as the troops oc- 
cupying the sector while the Marines were in reserve would 
not risk a stray shot in the circle to*hiiider the "great ditch of 
China" excavation. 

The Second Battalion had been in occupancy of the sector 
but a short time when Riley was called to the COG bunker. 

The commanding officer told him, "Luke is going to dig 
us out of COP 2 if we don't do something to stop him. Ja- 
goda tried walking his sixties onto them, but one round got 
away and landed in the circle. I'm still bleeding from the 
chewing out I got. I want you to take one of your rifles out 


here." He pointed to the confluence of the corridor and the 
circle. "Give them a good pasting. Just be careful not to fire 
into the Holy Land." 

Riley grinned. "Yes, sir!" He practically ran from the 
bunker to get on with the job. Every day thereafter Riley 
moved a gun onto the molar and took the enemy under heavy 
fire. There was a noticeable lack of digging enthusiasm by 
the Chinese after Riley and his guns took over. 

The war continued with Reckless and her platoon roving 
the line from COP ^ eastward to Ava. The 30! Battalion saw 
heavy action in the Hedy-Bunker sector and Reckless came 
under fire again on the same hillside where she first experi- 
enced the blast of incoming. Farther to the east the ist and 
yth Marines came to grips with the enemy in the Vegas sec- 
tor. For reasons the Marines could never understand, the 
Turks had been ordered to evacuate Vegas and without it the 
Marines were hard pressed to hold the line. It was a costly 

Then the truce was signed. The Second Battalion side 
slipped to the south where it took up new positions from the 
Panmunjom corridor to the Imjin River. Reckless and her pla- 
toon moved with the Second and made a comfortable camp in 
a shallow-hilled valley not far from an abandoned ferry cross- 
ing site. The approach to the river at this point was gentle 
and the shore was black sand. Reckless spent her days in the 
hills stringing communication wire to new positions. It was an 
easy life for the most part and she put on weight. 

During this period the commanding officer of the Second 
would invite Reckless, Riley and Latham to his bunker over- 
looking the Imjin to sit out the cool of the evening and talk 
about her. With notebook in hand, the older officer wrote 
page after page as Latham and Riley talked. It was at one of 
these meetings plans were discussed about her trip to the 


Latham told the officer, "I know it sounds crazy, Colonel, 
but I want to take Reckless and Jimmy home with me." 

"How many children do you have, Gunny?" 

a Two girls. The younger was only two months old when 
I shipped out for Korea." 

"What would your wife say?" 

"She's all for it. We like kids, horses and dogs." 

"Getting Jimmy home poses more of a problem than Reck- 
less. This I'll promise you, Joe, 111 get Reckless home." 

"That's going to make a lot of Marines happy," Riley said. 

"If I can't take Jimmy, I'll fix him up with some good 
family and see that he's sent to school." 

"Okay. You take care of Jimmy and I'll see to Reckless. 
My dad was a great horseman. I've been around horses all my 
life, but I've never known one like Reckless. Obviously, she 
had fine treatment and excellent training before Pedersen 
bought her." 

"I don't know who he bought her from, but the Koreans 
at the track should know. One guy told me her Korean name, 
but I can't remember it." 

"I'm being transferred to the Kimpo regiment. Over there 
I'll have time to get into Seoul. I'll try to track down her 

"I'm sorry you're leaving, Colonel." 

"I am too, Bill. I yelled so loud they could hear me way 
back in division without the telephone, but it didn't do any 
good. Tomorrow night is my sayonara. Bring Reckless and 
we'll make the rounds of the various units. We'll start out at 
staff NCO's tent. Better bring the trailer to get her to Easy 
and Fox companies." 

"Yes, sir." 

As Riley and Latham and Reckless walked along the nar- 
row pathway toward the jeep park, the officer called out, 
"Bill, Fve arranged for your transfer into the battalion. You'll 
be assigned to Fox Company." 


"Thank you, Colonel." 

For a long while after they left the battalion commander 
sat and watched the night shadows grow on the river and the 
traffic lights move across Freedom Bridge. After a time he 
had to light the Coleman lantern to see his notes. 

The next evening the four of them journeyed about the 
battalion area saying farewell. As she had done from the first, 
Reckless joined in and no matter how crowded a tent or 
bunker became it never fretted her. Her nonchalant accept- 
ance of being with Marines led Riley to say, "You know, 
Colonel, Reckless has forgotten she's a horse." 

All hands had fun and there were laughter and singing. 
Major Tom Fields joined the group as they went from unit 
to unit. It was late when they returned to the battalion CP 
and raided the officers' galley. While the others had Spam 
sandwiches, Reckless drank a tin of coffee and ate bread cov- 
ered with peanut butter. They all had a tear-rolling laugh 
when the peanut butter clung to the roof of her mouth. A 
second tin of coffee helped, but she still made faces as her 
tongue rolled the stuff off her palate. 

The next morning the battalion commander and Reckless 
paid a visit to Lt. Jack Leversee, unit surgeon, where a 
remedy was sought for the residual inertia that had been built 
up the night before. 

In October Latham received orders to return to the United 
States, as did Coleman. Along with them Reckless would 
lose other friends like Kelly, Cassitty and her unwilling rider 
into the mine field, Baker. Latham arranged for Jimmy to 
live with a family nearby where he could see Reckless often 
and the members of the platoon promised to care for him. 
Latham had no worry over lack of attention for Reckless. 
Should the unit become careless they would soon be brought 
to account by General Pate who never failed to visit her and 


inspect her bunker whenever he was in the Second Battalion 

Lt. William McManus, who had relieved Riley, expressed 
It well, "The surest way I know of getting locked up is to 
have the General find her bunker dirty and Reckless un- 

High excitement was generated during the charity fund 
drive for Navy Relief. One night members of the Four Point 
Two Mortar (Four Deuces) unit spirited Reckless from her 
bunker and hid her in another neax their camp. The plot had 
been engineered by the division special service officer. The 
morning after her disappearance it was announced that Reck- 
less had been kidnaped and was being held for ransom. 
Tickets were distributed for purchase. They read, "FIRST 
one dollar. 

To the RR Platoon there was little humor in the situation. 
They were assured she was safe, but had no confidence in the 
ability of the abductors to care for her properly. How could 
outsiders possibly know her feeding habits? On cold nights 
would they take her into a stove-heated tent? Headed by Sgt. 
Lively, the platoon donated four hundred dollars to the Ran- 
some Reckless Fund. The division poured in over twenty- 
eight thousand dollars and Reckless was returned. She ap- 
peared to have enjoyed her stay with the Four Deuces. 

Master Sgt. John Strange, now the senior NCO in the AT 
Company, felt Reckless had been neglected and had gone too 
long without receiving official and public recognition of her 
services. Captain Andrew Kovach agreed. She should be pro- 
moted to sergeant and her acts of courage read aloud during 
a company formation. First, though, she must have a distinc- 
tive uniform. Kovach designed a blanket and turned it over 
to the platoon for comment and criticism. After a few minor 


changes, Lt. Herbert Loui drove into Seoul where he found 
a Korean tailor who would do the job. 

The parade blanket was to be of red silk trimmed in gold. 
There was to be a Globe and Anchor on either side and the 
proper unit identification. The blanket would cost fifty-one 
dollars. Another collection was taken. 

A week later the uniform was ready and Reckless appeared 
to be impressed when she had her first fitting. All hands 
agreed it was a first-rate job though PFC Billy Jones was 
heard to remark that the American eagle atop the globe 
"looks like a tired Korean sparrow." 

She had not modeled the blanket more than a few minutes 
when the silk stirred her interest and she nibbled at the front 
edge. Lively was quick to notice this and remembered the 
tales of her eating the Australian hat and Latham's poker 

He cautioned, "Never leave her alone with that blanket. 
Shell eat it like she did that hat and we can't be putting out 
fifty bucks every few weeks." 

It took Reckless nine months to make a prophet of Lively, 
but she came through in winning style. She proved an old 
proverb, "A good horse does everything well." 

All was now in readiness for the ceremony. Kovach so in- 
formed Col. Elby Martin, then commanding the 5th Marines. 
Would he and the General come to the AT area to present 
Reckless with sergeant's stripes? Of course! Martin arranged 
a date with the General and the unit began a spit and polish 
program to ready themselves, Reckless and the area for such 
a ceremony. A small reviewing stand was built, the citation, 
was written and the national and Marine Corps colors bor- 
rowed from regiment. 

It was a colorful, impressive ceremony. With the company 
paraded, the General trooped the line and was then con- 
ducted to the platform. Lively and T/Sgt. Dave Woods es- 


corted Reckless to proper position and Strange read the 

For meritorious achievement in connection -with operations 
against the enemy while serving with a Marine infantry regi- 
ment in Korea from October 26, 1952 to July 27, 1953. Cor- 
poral Reckless performed the duties of ammunition carrier in 
in a superb manner. Reckless' attention and devotion to duty 
make her well qualified for promotion to the rank of sergeant. 
Her absolute dependability while on missions under fire con- 
tributed materially to the success of many battles. . . . 

General Pate pinned the stripes to the new blanket and 
Reckless became a sergeant in the Marine Corps. It was a 
happy day. 

A short time later the General returned to Washington 
where he was promoted to lieutenant general and became as- 
sistant commandant. Reckless had a good friend in high places. 


.EARLY IN DECEMBER the battalion commander returned 
from Kimpo to visit the Second and to say good-by to 
Reckless. He had some pointed remarks to make to those 
concerned over the condition of her quarters and lack of at- 
tention to her feet. The situation was corrected with prompt- 

Shortly after his return to the United States he had lunch 
with Ben Hibbs, editor of The Saturday Evening Post, and 
Reckless was discussed in detail. Hiobs asked that an article 
be prepared for The Post. This was done and the piece was 
scheduled for the April 17, 1954, issue. 

At this time a letter was written to Colonel Victor "Brute" 
Krulak, staff sectary to the Commandant of the Marine 
Corps. The proposal was made to return Reckless to the 
States and to assign her to permanent duty at Camp Pendle- 
ton. The Brute was asked to intercede in her behalf at Head- 

With his usual energy and good nature^ Krulak went to 
work on the problem. An answer came from Washington by 



return mail . . . and with it a chiding reminder that Reckless 
was not the first horse to serve with Marines in Korea: 

I was delighted to receive your letter and will take up the 
questions in order. 

First, as to the RECKLESS story in the Saturday Evening 
Post. I not only read it, but enjoyed it tremendously. It was 
warm and most convincing; beautifully done and sensitive. 

I regret to tell you that there is a terrible inaccuracy in the 
story. Reckless was by no means the first Marine horse of her 
type in Korea. In the spring of '51, when the Red Chinese 
withdrew northward for the last time, they left a great deal 
of material behind, as well as some transportation. Among 
other things which fell to the ist Marine Division in its ad- 
vance was a nice-looking light chestnut gelding, of about 15 
hands and aged ten years. On his back was a very well-made 
English saddle, and he wore a. good English bridle. He had 
two wounds in his near foreleg. 

He was seized upon by an enlisted man in the ist Ordnance 
Battalion, who plastered the two wounds with athletes' foot 
ointment, and in a matter of a couple of weeks he was back 
on his feet. The boy gave the horse to me, and I rode him 
frequently in place of using a jeep in the rough, mountainous 
area where we were operating at that time. 

Unable to provide proper shoes for him, we made the best 
possible substitute out of composition soles from the Shoe and 
Textile Repair Unit. I have no doubt that he is the one and 
only horse ever to be so shod. The attached picture is furnished 
in the form of validation. 

There will be no charge for the secrecy which I intend to 
maintain regarding this fact. 

Be assured that I will commence investigation at once con- 
cerning the possibility of having Reckless returned. I have not 
the slightest idea what problems will be encountered, but will 
talk to Admiral Denebrink, who runs MSTS, which agency I 
feel would be the only possibility . , . 

There were stumbling blocks and time lags. Various de- 
partments at Headquarters Marine Corps were asked for 


opinions and possible public reaction to returning Reckless to 
the United States. 

Colonel Raymond Crist of the Division of Public Infor- 
mation delivered the knockout punch in his evaluation of the 

In your letter you mentioned the problem of bringing Reck- 
less to the United States. Marines who now have custody of 
Reckless are actually her legal owners, and they would have 
to be consulted before any action was taken to bring her to 
this country. Moreover, government transportation could only 
be furnished if this horse were owned by the Marine Corps. 
I realize that we possibly could buy the animal for one dollar, 
but I cannot see how we could justify the expense of trans- 
porting her to the United States for no other purpose than 
the attendant publicity. Even if we did overcome official ob- 
jections and bring Reckless to this country, I am afraid that 
the publicity might be construed by some as Marine Corps as- 
sistance in the promotion of a commercial venture. 

This was a disappointment. It was obvious by now that 
Reckless could not be furnished government transportation. 
A telephone call was put through to Ernest Gibson in the 
Operations Department of the Pacific Transport Lines. Gib- 
son in turn discussed the matter with Stan Coppel, execu- 
tive vice-president. Both of these men knew of Reckless 
through The Saturday Evening Post article. Within a few 
minutes the decision was made: Reckless could ride for free 
on any ship in the line. The only financial liability would be 
for her stall and feed. Gibson suggested the ship Pacific 
Transport due to sail from Yokohama on the twentieth of 
October be selected since Captain Kenneth Shannon, master 
of the vessel, loved horses and dogs. Shannon's pet Smokey, a 
black and white cocker, traveled aboard ship with his master 
and would be company for Reckless. Her hatred for dogs was 
not mentioned at this time. 

An air mail, special delivery letter was sent off by Gibson to 
General Pate: 


I realized from the beginning that the Marine Corps would 
be open to censure if it expended public funds to return the 
little horse to the States. In my letter to "Brute" Krulak months 
ago I volunteered to pay the expenses. 

The legal ownership of Reckless rests with ist Lt, Eric 
Pedersen, T/Sgt. Joseph Latham and PFC Monroe Coleman. 
It is unlikely any of the Marines now with Reckless were in 
the unit in October, 1952, when she was purchased. This is 
the account of the transaction: Pedersen bought her on the 
race track at Seoul on or about Oct. 26, 1952. With him at the 
time of the purchase were Sgt. Willard R. Berry and PFC 
Philip Carter. Berry was Pedersen's scout sergeant. It was Ped- 
ersen who had the pack saddle and other equipment purchased 
and flown to Korea at his own expense. That equipment is still 
with the unit. Pedersen paid $250. US for her. 

In April, 1953, when Pedersen was transferred he thought 
of taking the horse with him, but the men of the Recoilless 
Rifle Unit pleaded to let her remain with them. A collection 
was taken and Pedersen was partially repaid. Coleman and 
Latham still retain a monetary interest in Reckless. Pedersen's 
transfer took place nineteen months ago. In all likelihood there 
is no Marine in the AT unit who can claim he participated in 
the partial repayment. 

Additionally, I cannot see any Marine protesting her return 
if he is informed that she must remain behind when the Divi- 
sion departs Korea. 

Subject to your approval, I have made arrangements for 
Reckless to ride home on the freighter Pacific Transport. This 
ship sails from Yokohama on Oct. 22, and will arrive in San 
Francisco Nov. 5. Captain Shannon, master of the Pacific 
Transport, has assured me Reckless will be given the best care 
possible. At the Japanese end, the Marines handling the horse 
should contact Mr. G. K. Jones, Pacific Transport Lines, 
Tokyo. The phone number is 235153. He has already been 
notified to be on the lookout for her. 

At the same time Gibson got off a letter to their repre- 
sentative in Yokohama, Gordon Jones: 


You will be approached by the Marine Corps, Tokyo, to 
make arrangements for transporting a famous horse from 
Yokohama to San Francisco. The wheels are in motion to get 
Reckless aboard the SS Pacific Transport V/36E, due to sail 
yours 22, October, 1954. 

Contact in Tokyo will be through the First Marine Division 
Office (Finance Building) : 

Colonel E. C. Ferguson, USMC 
Representative Commanding General 
Fleet Marine Force, Pacific 
Far East Command 

c/o Postmaster, San Francisco 

The Marines will furnish a portable stall approximately 4 ft. 
wide by 10 ft. long with a sloping roof, f 6" high (front), 7' 
high (back), together with sufficient hay and oats for feeding 
and bedding down. If possible, a salt lick should also be pro- 
vided. For protection from the weather it is suggested that 
the stall be placed as near aft of the house as possible. 

Stan Coppel has authorized deadhead transportation and the 
Marines have arranged here to pay the necessary charges for 
crew care (overtime for feeding and cleaning stall enroute). 

In the event Reckless does not make the above sailing, please 
complete arrangements through Colonel Ferguson's office for 
any subsequent sailing, advising this office and the Master of 
whichever vessel is utilized. 

By return mail Gibson received a letter from Jones: 

I refer to your letter, subject above, which was received on 
Sept. 21. 

I contacted Col. E. C. Ferguson who was both amused and 
surprised to learn about the pending shipment of Reckless to 
the States. I read the letter to him, to which he replied, and I 
quote: "Do you realize, Mr. Jones, that I am here in the 
Finance Building in a small office with two Assistants and we 
haven't got a hammer, a saw or a nail in the place! How do 
they expect me to build a stall for a horse?" 

I had a copy of your letter made for the Colonel and I took 
it over to his office yesterday afternoon, but unfortunately the 


Colonel was out and I did not have the chance to meet him. 

The Colonel advised me on the telephone that he would look 
into the matter Immediately and as soon as he receives some 
information, he would advise me. 

Rest asured that I shall keep in contact with Colonel Fer- 
guson and that we shall cooperate with the Marine Corps to 
the fullest extent. 

In the meantime, a letter was received from General Pate: 
I was most pleased to receive your letter of September 9, 

1954, and to learn that you have been successful in working 

out plans to transport Reckless from Japan to San Francisco. 

I can see no cause for objection to your plan on the part of 

the Marine Corps. 
Am enclosing two pictures of the ceremony in which the 

little lady was made a sergeant. 

With the receipt of General Pate's letter one was gotten 
off to Major General Robert E. Hogaboom, commanding the 
ist Marine Division in Korea. Previous correspondence re- 
garding Reckless was enclosed. Six days later a dispatch was 
received from Korea: 


The matter of ownership was discussed with Pedersen by 
long distance telephone. He shared the feeling that the pres- 


ent members of the RR Platoon were being high-handed in 
the matter. As had been pointed out in earlier correspondence 
none of the present membership had been in Korea at the 
time Reckless was purchased. Contrary to the dispatch, PFC 
William Moore was not a member of the platoon until after 
the truce was signed. 

Pedersen and the battalion commander agreed the matter 
could not be threshed out by telegram. The most important 
thing was to get Reckless aboard the Pddfic Transport. All 
demands of the dispatch were agreed to and a ticket was pur- 
chased for Moore. Coppel apologized that he could not bring 
Moore home without charge, but he was prevented from this 
due to terms of a government mail subsidy contract. 

In Korea, General Hogaboom queried the ist Marine 
Aircraft Wing . . . could they provide air transportation for 
Reckless from Korea to Japan? This gave the logistics section 
of the Wing an unexpected and challenging training problem. 
This would be the first time they had been asked to air-lift 
a horse in an R4Q (Flying Boxcar) aircraft. They had carried 
jeeps, 105 mm. howitzers, and every other conceivable load 
of war equipment, but never livestock. They fitted the prob- 
lem into their training program. 

The Chief of Staff of the Wing prepared a memorandum 
for the Chief of Staff of the Division: 


ist Marine Aircraft Wing, FMF 
c/o Fleet Post Office, San Francisco 

1 6, October, 1954 


From: Chief of Staff, ist Marine Aircraft Wing 
To: Chief of Staff, ist Marine Division 
Subj : Operation HORSE SHIFT 
Ref: (a) CG, istMarDiv Memo of izOct54 

(b) CG, istMAW disp 1307452 Oct54 

(c) MarCorps GO No. i u 


1. Your request contained in reference (a) has been approved 
as indicated by reference (b). Certain personnel, logistical and 
medical details related to subject operation may have been 
overlooked by members of your staff and are cited for your 

a. Reference (a) failed to specify the sex of the passenger. 
It should be remembered that regulations require that female 
passengers in Naval aircraft must be suitably clothed in a 
trouser type uniform. Male passengers must be in the uniform 
of the day (ribbons optional). All passengers must wear dog 
tags and must be sober. 

b. In-flight box lunches are not furnished for passengers by 
this command. Present rations (Army common) do not in- 
clude food fit for a horse. Recommend advice be obtained 
from the Army's First Cavalry Division. 

c. Although the responsibility for loading has been assumed 
by your headquarters, certain in-flight unloading problems 
must be anticipated. Responsibility for solution of these prob- 
lems must naturally be assumed by you. A HORSE SHIFT 
Liaison Officer (hereafter referred to as DUNG-HO) is rec- 

d. Close coordination between the pilot and DUNG-HO is 
required in this matter. Provisions must also be made for in- 
spection by the Neutral Nations Inspection Team on return 
to Korea. 

e. Medical regulations require that passengers returning to 
CONUS must be dewormed and de-malariaized prior to de- 
parture. Compliance is requested in subject case. 

f. Passengers riding in the R4Q aircraft are required to don 
parachute harnesses prior to flight. This promises to be a diffi- 
cult task, but the ingenuity of your staff is being counted on 
to find a solution. 

2. It is noted that paragraph 2 of reference (a) makes men- 
tion of precautions to insure safety of the animal in flight. 
While the sympathies of this command are solidly with 
Reckless, it must be remembered that the pilot will also be 
interested in maintaining the structural integrity of his air- 
craft. Therefore a horse adrift will be viewed with disfavor, 


and in case of unforeseen events he (or she) must be warned 
to stand clear of the pilots' compartment. 


Chief of Staff 

The football season was in full play among the service 
teams in Korea and the game between the yth Army Division 
and the ist Marine Division was used as the appropriate time to 
announce the rotation of Reckless to the United States. With 
the drum and bugle corps to do the honors, she said good-by 
to the division. 


(Half Time) 

ist Marine Division vs. yth Army Division 
Football Game 
Oct. 17, 1954 

General Hogaboom, Officers and Men of the ist Marine 
Division, guests and Sgt, Reckless, Pride of the Marines. 

Reckless began her career in the Marine Corps in October, 
1952, when she was purchased in Seoul by the 75 mm. Re- 
coilless Rifle Platoon of the Antitank Company, fth Marines. 
Her boot camp was different from that of the ordinary Ma- 
rine; she was trained to carry 75 Recoilless Rifle ammunition 
during actual combat. For outstanding conduct during this 
period, she was promoted to the rank of corporal. 

It was in the battle for the outpost Vegas that Reckless 
proved her merit as a Marine. With enemy artillery and 
mortar rounds coming in at the rate of 500 a minute, she 
carried 75 mm. shells into the front lines. Each yard as a 
passage under fire. Reckless made a total of fifty-one trips to 
the outpost during the Battle for Vegas to keep the guns sup- 
plied with ammunition. 

Disregard for her own safety and conduct under fire were 
an inspiration to the troops and in keeping with the highest 
traditions of the Naval Service. 


Corporal Reckless received her Meritorious Promotion to 
Sergeant on April 10, 1954. The citation reads in part, "Cpl. 
Reckless performed the duties of ammunition carrier from 
October, 1952, to July 27, 1953, in a superb manner. Reck- 
less* attention and devotion to duty make her well qualified 
for promotion to the rank of sergeant. Her absolute de- 
pendability while on missions under fire contributed materi- 
ally to the success of many battles." 

Rotation to the United States is her due and in a few weeks 
she will be on her way to Camp Pendleton . . . home of the 
ist Marine Division. Good luck, Sergeant Reckless, and Bon 

As soon as it was known that Reckless was to meet the ship, 
word was passed to General Pate as well as Pedersen, Lively, 
Coleman, Latham and Mull. Pedersen and Lively responded 
that they would be in San Francisco to meet her with a trailer 
to carry her back to Camp Pendleton. Coleman, now out of 
the Corps, wrote he would drive to the coast from Utah. 
Latham and Mull telephoned Pedersen they would make 
every effort to cross the country from Camp Lejeune, North 

Major General Evans Ames, managing director of the Ma- 
rines Memorial Club, issued an invitation for Reckless to 
attend the Marine Corps Birthday banquet to be held the 
night of the tenth of November. The invitation was accepted 
by proxy. 

A telephone call was put through to the U. S. Customs 

"What duty, if any, would have to be paid on a Marine 
war horse?" 
"What horse?" 

"A Korean horse named Reckless." 
"That the horse I read about in The Saturday Evening 

"The same." 

"Very easy, Colonel Bring a set of your orders down and 


bring her in as part of your baggage. Either that or declare 
her being worth fifty dollars and we'll charge you $3.75." 

"Okay, I'll do it that way, but don't let Reckless or any of 
her Marine friends know I put that valuation on her." 

The United States Agriculture Department was difficult. 
Their procedure was involved. The animal's feet would have 
to be inspected on board ship by a bureau veterinarian; a sam- 
ple of blood would have to be drawn and sent to Washing- 
ton, D. C, for analysis. Tests would be run for dourine and 
glanders. (All hands were highly indignant when the mean- 
ing of dourine was discovered.) 

The "animal" would have to remain aboard or on the dock 
until clearance was received. 

"Isn't there a laboratory in California certified to make 
such an analysis?" 



"That's the way it has been done for fifty years." 

"In other words, Reckless might have to live aboard ship or 
on the dock for a week after she gets into port?" 

"If you'll pay air-mail charges, it will only take about sev- 
enty-two hours." 

"Yes, but she's been invited to a banquet on the evening 
of the roth. She has to get out of quarantine right away." 

"She has to what?" 

"Go to a banquet. She's to be the honored guest." 

"Yonll be liable to a heavy fine if you try to take her off 
without permission." 

"Who is your head man in Washington?" 

"Dr. C. L. Gooding, Chief Animal Inspection Quarantine 
Branch, Agriculture Research Service." 

A telegram was sent off to Dr. Gooding: 




Some headway was made in Washington, however, by 
permission for her to leave the dock. At least, she was assured 
of being able to go to the banquet. 


Not many days later Captain Shannon reported the ship 
in a typhoon. The Marines who knew Reckless and remem- 
bered her trip with the Navy wondered if she were sick 
again. She was. 

Meantime, various news media were informed that Reck- 
less was en route. Bob Considine, noted newspaperman, 
launched her welcome home campaign over his coast-to-coast 
radio broadcast. This was followed by a column on her. 

Ed Sullivan of the New York Daily News and Toast of 
the Town TV program, also wrote a column and sent a tele- 





The ship was delayed by the storm and Sullivan was noti- 
fied Reckless could not make the show. 

Governor Goodwin J. Knight took time out from his cam- 
paign for re-election to issue a proclamation welcoming her 
to California: 

Executive Department 

State of California November 2, 1954 

Calif ornians are proud to join with our United States Ma- 
rines in welcoming Sergeant Reckless home from Korea. 

Fighting with our men of the First Division this great- 
hearted little mare became the symbol of their spirit. During 
the bitter days, while carrying ammunition to the Reckless 
Rifles of the First, she was twice wounded. Yet, despite her 
bloodied flanks, she continued to plod the Korean hills. Such 
courage understandably won the respect of the men who know 
courage best. 

Therefore, I am proud California has been chosen as home 
for this heroic animal. 

I know the years ahead will hold aifection for her by those 
who fought beside her. But more important, as time goes on, 
this little mare with the blaze will mingle with Marines-yet- 
to-be and, in her inimitable way, instill in them the spirit of 
Semper Fidelis; life's breath to the Eternal Corps. 

Goodwin J. Knight 
(SEAL) Governor of California 

Pedersen and Lively arrived from Camp Pendleton with 
the trailer. Coleman and bride arrived from Utah. Latham 
and Mull wired it was impossible for them to make it. The 
night before the ship arrived the Marines had a meeting to 
plan the reception for their friend. In the midst of this gather- 
ing the telephone rang. It was Captain Shannon on the radio 


telephone. A nervous hush settled on the group. What had 
happened? It must be Reckless! 

Shannon's voice came over weakly, "Colonel, I thought I 
should call you about Reckless." 

"What is it? What happened?" 

"In case you're planning a parade or anything" Shan- 
non's voice faded. 

"Yes, Captain, what is it? What did you say?" 

Slowly the bad news was transmitted and the connection 
broken. The older officer returned to the room with the other 
Marines. Their eyes were on him. 

"Bad news?" Pedersen asked. 

"Yes! Reckless ate her blanket, even the ribbons. All that's 
left are a few rags." 

"I told them that would happen the first day she wore the 
blanket! That Moore must be a first-class idiot to leave it 
where she could get hold of it." Lively's mood indicated he 
would have words with Moore. 

"The other night in the storm she got swept out of her 
stall and they found her sprawled on deck ready to go over 
the side." 

Pedersen's reaction to the near accident summed up the 
feelings of all, "Going over the side wouldn't phase her any. 
She'd probably beat the ship into port." 

"With every photographer in town on the dock, we've got 
to get a blanket for her, and we've got to work fast. Eric, 
when you go to the airport to meet Kay in the morning 
you'll see a saddlery shop on Third Street. It's an old San 
Francisco landmark . . . Olsen Nolte is the name. They should 
have what we want. While you're doing that Jane will find 
a lettering outfit to sew on what we want. I'll get the ribbons 
made up. Other than that, we're in good shape. A Lieutenant 
Newell, veterinarian from the Presidio, has volunteered to 
meet her and draw the blood." 

"When does the ship arrive?" 


"The captain said about 5:30 or 6:00 in the afternoon. 
After Newell has drawn the blood and the Agriculture peo- 
ple have looked at her feet, we'll take her to Golden Gate 
Park for exercise." 

All plans had to be canceled. Inspector Eddy of the Agri- 
culture Department informed Gibson that the ship was dock- 
ing after the normal closing time of 5:00 o'clock. If the an- 
imal were to be inspected, overtime and travel pay would 
have to be paid to himself and a bureau veterinarian. Such 
service would cost $30 to $40. The decision was made that 
Reckless would remain aboard ship for the night. 

The day of arrival was a busy one. Pedersen and Lively 
called on Olsen Nolte. Creed Haberlin, the manager, had read 
of her arrival. He donated a blanket, halter, curry comb and 
brush and foot pick. 

Haberlin told Pedersen, "My kids have been reading about 
her. If I didn't do something for her they wouldn't let me in 
the house." 

It is said by some who know horses that they have little 
intelligence and no memory but these detractors had never 
met Reckless. When the Marines appeared on the hatch they 
found her straining over the crossbar of the stall. She nodded 
to Lively, Coleman and Pedersen in turn. It was apparent to 
anyone who witnessed the meeting that she knew them and 
was delighted to see them again. It was a scene to be remem- 
bered and all were sorry Latham could not have been there. 

Shortly after daylight the Marines were back aboard pre- 
paring her for the photographers. Her feet were cleaned and 
the hoofs polished and the three white stockings and blaze 
washed with shampoo. Newell arrived early with bottles and 
needles, but the blood sample could not be drawn until the 
government officials arrived. 

In no time she could have passed a general's inspection and 
was ready to meet the press. Eddy and his bureaucratic mate 


from the Agriculture Department arrived and stood by while 
Newell drew the blood. The young officer was concerned 
lest Reckless should rear and strike her head on the deck 
housing overhang when he inserted the needle. 

Pedersen told him, "Go ahead, she won't even nod." 
Newell shrugged and placed his barracks cap on a fender and 
gave the neck several sharp pats to numb it. 

Reckless paid him no heed whatsoever. She had just fin- 
ished a carrot when she saw the barracks cap. While Newell 
rammed the needle home and the blood began to flow into 
the bottle, she reached over his shoulder and grabbed the cap. 
Lively rescued it in time to save it from going the way of so 
many things. Eddy took the sample and departed. 

Reckless was then free of red tape and ready to meet the 
press. By this time the ship was crowded with photog- 
raphers and reporters. 

As one veteran newsman observed, "She has more cameras 
and reporters to meet her than Vice-President Nixon had a 
week ago when he came to town." 

Reckless appeared to enjoy it. She posed with various Ma- 
rines, she ate carrots, she walked into and out of her stall a 
dozen times while flash bulbs popped and cameramen shouted 
for different poses. Then she became bored and let Pedersen 
know it. She was placed in an unloading stall and with Peder- 
sen at her head, the winch swung her over the side and low- 
ered her to the dock. Fourteen months after she had been 
promised a home in California she arrived. 

The newsreel and TV cameramen were entranced with 
such a beautifully poised subject. Later in the day they met 
with her on the stage of the Marines' Memorial Club where 
she was toasted and, in turn, toasted many new friends . . . 
all with cola. She also drank a glass of milk in case the soft 
drink should look like an alcoholic beverage in the pictures. 

There were some who doubted her behavior in the elevator 
which she would have to ride to gain the tenth floor ban- 


quet hall. She confounded her skeptics in San Francisco as 
she had in Korea. She rode the elevator as though she owned 
it. She walked into a banquet hall where four hundred people 
waited for her and flash bulbs popped like mortar shells 
along the MLR. She stood at the head table and ate cake. 
When there was no more cake she started in on the rose and 
carnation table decorations. 

Still later she appeared in the ballroom for the official cake 
cutting ceremony. As is traditional in the Marine Corps, the 
first slice was given to the most honored Marine present. In 
this instance there was no one to dispute her right. It was 
fitting she should eat it from the hand of Kay Pedersen. She 
was the belle of the ball and it was after midnight before 
Lively and Pedersen escorted her to her quarters on Pier 

The next day was equally busy. In the morning she was 
taken to the San Francisco Cow Palace to have a run. She 
put on one of her greatest performances . . . the rocking horse 
strut, the whirling run, the charge at Pedersen as though to 
run him down, the stiff -legged bucking action. 

That afternoon she went to the exclusive Bohemian Club 
to meet the membership. It was a Thursday and the Cartoon 
Room was crowded when she made her entrance. It was the 
first time in the long history of the club that a lady had been 
admitted to the clubrooms. After a pleasant time, she and 
Lively and Pedersen said good-by to the battalion com- 
mander and departed for Camp Pendleton. 

A letter was prepared to the Commandant of the Marine 
Corps relative to the future of Reckless. 

November 19, 1954 
From: LtCol.Andrew C. Geer 025898/0302 USMCR 

To: Commandant of the Marine Corps 
Headquarters, U. S. Marine Corps 
Washington 25, D. C. 


Ref : (a) CG, ist Mar.Div,Dis 050706Z 

1. Reference (a) established the willingness of the Command- 
ing General of the First Marine Division and members of the 
75 mm. Recoilless Rifle Platoon of the Fifth Marines to ship 
Reckless to the United States providing certain guarantees 
were made by the undersigned. These were: (a) The owner- 
ship of Reckless would reside with the 75mm. Recoilless Rifle 
Platoon Antitank Company Fifth Marines, (b) That Reckless 
be stationed at Camp Pendleton until such time as the First 
Marine Division returns from Korea, (c) That any funds ac- 
cruing to her through public appearances be used for de- 
pendents of deceased members of the Recoilless Rifle Platoon, 
(d) That PFC William Moore accompany her to the United 

2. The undersigned, readily agreed to the ownership clause 
inasmuch as his sole interest was to see the horse safely in the 
United States. However, it is felt the claim of ownership by 
the present membership of the Platoon is tenuous and unfair. 
No member of this unit was in Korea at the time Reckless 
joined, and none participated in the partial repayment of 
Lieutenant Eric Pedersen's original outlay. PFC Moore's 
claim to have been in the RR Platoon since March, 1953, * s 
fatuous. He joined the RR Platoon after the truce was signed. 
Let us say her ownership rests with the hundreds of Marines, 
living and dead, who were at the Battle of Vegas, where she 
won their love by her valiant service. 


a. The undersigned is in hearty agreement that Reckless 
should be stationed at Camp Pendleton, as indicated in Para- 
graph (b) of reference (a). It should be kept in mind, how- 
ever, that this is no ordinary horse and she should have spe- 
cial care and attention. She should have a large and luxurious 
box stall constructed for living quarters. Her pasture should 


be commodious and watered to provide the best grass. It is 
suggested her "court" be in the vicinity of the Commanding 
General's quarters and properly marked with appropriate 
sign, so that all will know this to be the home of Sergeant 
Reckless, Pride of the Marines. As long as Lieutenant Peder- 
sen and Sergeant Elmer Lively are stationed at Camp Pendle- 
ton, they should be assigned the additional duty of caring 
for their friend. Never should she be ridden by oversized, 
leaden-seated, heavy-handed cowboy types, nor should she 
ever be considered one of the post stable horses. 

b. Due to an injury suffered in Korea when hit by a jeep, 
she has a weakened left hip and overwork will bring on lame- 
ness, She should never be ridden by anyone weighing in ex- 
cess of 130 pounds and then only enough for exercise and 
light training. Every six months she should have a thorough 
physical examination. She likes children and is gentle in their 
presence. Because of her having been savaged by wild Korean 
dogs, she is committed to the destruction of the canine race 
and dogs should be kept clear. 

c. Upon being turned to pasture in Pendleton, her shoes 
should be removed and she should be allowed to go barefoot 
for a period of six weeks. At that time her feet should be 
trimmed and new shoes fitted. Only the most knowing and 
patient horseshoer should be employed. Sergeant Reckless is 
extremely proud of her feet and will not stand for inexpert 
attention. Several Korean horseshoers will painfully attest to 
this statement. She should be groomed each day and her mane 
and tail, which have become ragged by inexpert clipping and, 
perhaps, a dietary deficiency, should be encouraged by daily 
brushing. The Headquarters Duty Officer should be directed 
to inspect her and her quarters once in each twenty-four hour 

d. Flame of the Morning knew hardship, but never cruelty 
before joining the Corps. Her Korean owner was a skilled 
horseman with the hands that come to one man in ten thou- 
sand. But for the sad state to which the Korean war had 
brought him, Lieutenant Pedersen would never have been able 


to buy her that October day in 1952. Reckless learned to trust 
man through this kindly Korean. Because of this trust she will 
go anywhere and do anything man suggests, if she likes the 
man. That is why she would crawl into a jeep trailer and ride 
some thirty rough miles the first time she saw Pedersen; why 
she would make repeated trips into the MLR under the heavi- 
est bombardments of incoming with PFC Coleman; why she 
would crowd into a small elevator and ride upwards eleven 
floors and walk nonchalantly into a banquet hall packed with 
people the first day she was in the United States. 

e. This does not mean she likes all Marines just because they 
are Marines. During the days of fighting in Korea she had her 
favorites in the RR platoon and among members of the 2nd 
Battalion 5th Marines. There were also members of both 
units over whom she would not pine if they were transferred. 
Therefore, the selection of the Marine to see after her must 
be made with care. Being of a positive disposition, she will let 
all hands know if she does not cotton to a certain individual. 

During the extreme heat of Korea, when potable water was 
scarce or nonexistent, Reckless came to know and like cer- 
tain liquids other than water. She is fond of coca cola and 
milk, even the powdered variety. Under the stress of battle 
she has been known to drink beer. However, all liquids 
should be served in a common variety water glass. When 
drinking from a bottle she has been known to bite off the 
top and this could prove injurious. Cola in limited amounts 
(no more than two or three glasses a week) could be pro- 
vided. Of milk she should have all she and the budget will 
stand. As a change from her usual ration of grain and alfalfa 
she can be served an occasional plate of scrambled eggs lightly 
salted and without pepper. She also relishes carrots, apples, 
sugar and kimchi, although it is unlikely this latter food will 
be found in southern California. 

g. Reckless will not take salt from a lick. It must be placed 
in her grain or on her eggs and never too much at one time. 

4. Paragraph (c) of reference (a) pertaining to the disposi- 
tion of funds earned by Sergeant Reckless through television, 


moving picture appearances, etc., was agreed to by the under- 
signed because it would have taken too much time to discuss 
the matter by dispatches between Korea and California. The 
request by the RR Platoon to have all monies earned allocated 
to dependents of deceased members of the platoon is unrealis- 
tic. An organization would have to be formed with a bonded 
treasurer appointed to handle and dispense funds so earned. 
It is pointed out that from the time Reckless joined the RR 
Platoon on the i6th of October, 1952,, until the Korean 
Truce was signed in July of 1954, no member of the Pla- 
toon suffered a fatality. Obviously, no one is eligible. 

a. It is recommended that such funds as may be earned 
by Sergeant Reckless be placed in the Korean Fund of the 
First Marine Division Association which is set up for the 
assistance and education of dependents of Marines killed in 
Korea. This recognized charitable organization is already in 
existence and functioning. 


a. A committee of four to handle her public appearances 
should be formed. It is recommended that this group include: 
(i) Director of Public Information, Headquarters, U. S. Ma- 
rine Corps; (2) Marine Corps Public Information Officers in 
New York and Los Angeles and the Commanding General at 
Camp Pendleton. The undersigned offers his services as special 

b. In connection with the public appearance of Reckless, 
she should never be subjected to appearing on a program 
which will not lend dignity to this gallant warrior. She should 
not be asked to appear on commercially sponsored programs 
of the beer, wine or liquor industry. She will endorse certain 
products (horse feed, milk, cola) only after thorough research 
establishes she really likes the product and the concern in- 
volved is of good reputation. Reckless should be available with- 
out charge to worthy charities, such as Navy Relief, March of 
Dimes and American-Korean Foundation. 

c. Care should be exercised in television and moving picture 


commitments. As a case in point: One Hollywood producer 
was ecstatic over the idea of having Reckless do a talking mule 
type of routine, a la Francis. Such antics may be all right for 
the Army, but there is as much difference between Sgt. Reck- 
less and Francis as there is between a horse and a mule. After 
all, one is a Hollywood clown and the other a gallant Marine 
who won honors in one of the bloodiest battles fought bjr 
American troops. 

cL Also, a television producer wished to star Sgt. Reckless 
in a twenty-six episode program, the film to be sold at con- 
siderable profit to himself and his company. When asked how 
much he would donate to the Marine Fund, his reply was, 
"Nothing." He was informed that this was the exact amount 
of footage he would be allowed to shoot. Obviously, If Reck- 
less is to appear without pay on one commercial program, a 
donation cannot be asked of another. Therefore, television ap- 
pearances should be carefully screened. At the moment, she is 
a sought after celebrity. It is recommended that the fee for a 
personal appearance or endorsement of a product be set at 
$1,000. This will weed out all but those with a sincere desire 
to show her to the American people. 

e. The forthcoming book Sergeant Reckless, dealing with 
her life, will add further luster to her name. It should also 
bring moving picture and television offers. With her beauty, 
poise and intelligence, the undersigned sees no reason why she 
should not portray herself. Given a reasonable explanation of 
what is expected, she will do most anything. After all, she 
crawled into a jeep trailer at first asking. Life in Hollywood, 
over an extended period, is not recommended, but it is pos- 
sible she would find a few weeks interesting and profitable. 


a. Careful thought should be given to mating Reckless 
with a suitable stallion. Its qualifications must be of the highest 
and only the finest should be considered. Reckless' mate should 
not be a large animal, It is recommended the Morgan or Ara- 
bian strain be searched for a worthy suitor. Because of my 
love for this little horse, it is requested that the first colt be 


mine, for which I will pay all stud fees and attendant expenses 
and donate to the Fund whatever sum is decided upon by the 
Commandant of the Marine Corps. 

b. With good fortune and loving care Reckless should live 
many years and produce several foals, so that her legend will 
not die. No better sentiment has been expressed than in Gov- 
ernor Goodwin J. Knight's proclamation welcoming her to 
the State of California. The Governor closed with these 

"I know the years ahead will hold affection for 
her by those who fought beside her. But more 
important, as time goes by, this little mare with 
the blaze will mingle with Marines-yet-to-be 
and, in her inimitable way, instill in them the 
spirit of Semper Fidelis, life's breath to the 
Eternal Corps." 

Andrew C. Geer 

2320 Leavenworth Street 
San Francisco, California 

A short time later an answer was received from Reckless' 
old friend. There was no doubt her treatment would be that 
of a VIP. 

Headquarters United States Marine Corps 

Washington 25, D. C. 
My dear Colonel: 

Your letter of November 19, 1954, addressed to the Com- 
mandant, has been read with considerable interest, and your 
thoughts concerning the care and welfare of Sergeant Reck- 
less are heart-warming, especially to the many veterans of 
the ist Marine Division who share your admiration for this 
courageous Korean veteran. 

A copy of your letter is being forwarded to General Hoga- 
boom requesting his comments on those portions dealing with 
the contractual agreements concerning her. It is hoped that 
mutually satisfactory terms may be worked out. A copy is 


also going to the Commanding General at the Marine Corps 
Base, Camp Pendleton, requesting his comment and recom- 
mendations with regard to the special handling and care you 
have suggested. Please feel at liberty to visit Major General 
Selden to discuss personally with him any questions which he 
may have incident to your recommendations. 

Your offer to become a special advisor to any committee 
formed to handle her public appearances is sincerely appreci- 
ated. Although your suggested committee parallels the normal 
chain of command and, therefore, would not appear to be en- 
tirely necessary, we will request your generously offered ad- 
vice whenever public appearances are contemplated. 

I am confident that arrangements can be completed at Camp 
Pendleton which wiU ensure that Sergeant Reckless may enjoy 
the care and the surroundings which her faithful service in 
Korea justifies. 

Sincerely yours, 
R. McC. Pate 

Lieutenant General, U. S. Marine Corps 
Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps 

Major General John Taylor Selden, commanding general 
of Camp Pendleton, said of her reception. 

I was at the main entrance to meet Sergeant Reckless. She 
is every bit as beautiful and well trained as I had been told. 
Although she joined the Division after I had turned over 
command to Al Pollock, I have heard from many Marines 
about her valiant service in Korea. It was with pride I wel- 
comed her to Camp Pendleton. 

After she met the guard, we drove to the Ranch House 
where she met Mrs. Selden. It was a case of love at first sight 
for both. We had Reckless make her mark in the guest book 
and if it hadn't been for Lt. Pedersen, she would have eaten 
the pen. 

As for her future, I can assure that there are twenty-five 
thousand Marines on this base who are determined she will 
want for nothingever. When the ist Marine Division returns 
from Korea that number will be doubled. Need I say more? 

... _.-.. m , m mi mini g 

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